There are five different types of pervasive development disorders (PDD) that are more often referred to as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (nimh, 2006). Asperger's syndrome is the mildest form of the disorder. All the disorders "are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior."(nimh, 2006) Another definition makes similar points: "A disorder that is present from birth or very early in development that affects essential human behaviors such as social interaction, the ability to communicate ideas and feelings, imagination, and the establishment of relationships with others." The spectrum of conditions that make up autism often lead to great family disruption and to unfulfilled lives for many children, so any teaching methods that may alleviate the effect of the condition are very important.
One of the problems with the whole of autism, and with Asperger Syndrome in general, is the fact that it describes a pattern of symptoms rather than just a single symptom (Powers, 2001). In most ways Asperger's resembles autism, but in a very mild form. Thus a child displays qualitative impairment in social interaction, and often repetitive/limited activities and interests (Tsantsanis, 2003). As it is rather mild autism, children with Asperger's may actually be reasonable functional.
At the moment there is actual study that addresses the long-term prognosis for a child with Asperger syndrome. These children appear have a greater tendency towards psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety and perhaps schizophrenia (Klin, 2006). Treatment options tend to include educational development and a search to exploit the often singular talents that some children with Asperger's display.
PART 2. Critically discuss the concepts of labels and labeling in relation to Aspergers
The concepts of labels and labeling are always controversial when they regard children and possible mental conditions. The results of labeling a child as "autistic" or "Asperger's" will be profound and will effect the child for the rest of his/her school years and beyond. Thus it is important that the 'labels' be given in an accurate manner, and, concomitantly, that they are associated with clearly defined conditions.
With Asperger's Syndrome it is diagnosis at the very mildest and most severe form that is most important. For the mildest cases, it may be difficult to distinguish between actual Asperger's and a simple eccentric or anachronistic view of the world being displayed by the child (Muller, 2007). Unfortunately, the syndrome is so loosely defined that it may be simply a matter of subjective opinion rather than objective fact as to whether a child is labeled as displaying Asperger's Syndrom