Asperger syndrome: to be or not to be?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Asperger syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interactions, such as nonverbal behaviors, failure to develop peer relationships, and lack of social reciprocity with restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of interest or behavior. The diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is increasingly common, and it is timely to review its phenomenology and treatment.

Recent findings

As there is a growing public awareness and acceptance of Asperger syndrome, clinical research has produced mixed results that do not clearly discriminate Asperger syndrome from high-functioning autism. However, research does indicate that children with pervasive developmental disorder achieve better outcomes when diagnosis is made early and appropriate community supports can be marshaled.

Summary

The history and phenomenology of Asperger syndrome is briefly reviewed, and recent literature relating to assessment and treatment is highlighted.

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