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Autism

Diaognosing Asperger`s Syndrome in Adults

09/16/2005

Question:

I didn`t learn about AS until I had been married for many years and was having counseling for depression. From the list of symptoms in the textbook I was reading I have all of the symptoms, though none of them is very severe. I had been abused physically and emotionally by parents and teachers all through my childhood and still have to deal with very low-esteem. I`m past 50 and have found I`m getting extremely impatient when I interact with other people, much more than I can remember when I was younger. Is this age, or is the disorder becoming more pronounced?

Answer:

The diagnosis of AS is very tricky in individuals who are older than young adults.  The reason is that a reliable diagnosis depends on history of particular impairments in early childhood, such as impaired social interaction and peculiar interests and some stereotyped behaviors.  Without this history, many other things can share some similar features.  Abuse can cause social impairments as well, with or without the presence of AS.  Also, there is, unfortunately, no data available whatsoever to help us understand how this condition evolves later in life.  From what I have observed, it does appear to remain stable into the 40s, though.  Much remains to be learned about the lifespan effects of AS.

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Response by:

David Q Beversdorf, MD David Q Beversdorf, MD
Formerly
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobehavior and Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University