Asperger’s syndrome was founded by and named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger in year 1944. It is also known as Asperger’s disorder or just Asperger’s. This syndrome is one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are a spectrum of psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormalities of social interaction and communication that pervade the individual’s functioning by restricted and repetitive interests or behavior.
Like many other psychological development disorders, Asperger’s syndrome begins in infancy or childhood and has a steady course without remission or relapse. It also has impairments that result from maturation-related changes in various systems of the brain.
Asperger’s syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than just a single symptom. This syndrome is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests. It is also characterized by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language.
The most dysfunctional aspect of Asperger’s syndrome is most likely the lack of demonstrated empathy. People with Asperger’s syndrome experience difficulties towards social interaction. They tend to lack emotional reciprocity and have impaired nonverbal behaviors. However, unlike those with autism, people suffering from Asperger’s syndrome are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly. They tend to analyze and distill their observation of social interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines, and apply these rules in awkward ways.
Those with Asperger’s syndrome often display restricted and repetitive interests and behavior that are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. People with Asperger’s syndrome tend to pursuit specific and narrow areas of interest such as collecting volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic. This symptom may go unrecognized because narrow topics often capture the interest of children. Stereotyped and repetitive motor behaviors are a core part of the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. They include constant repetition of hand movements and complex whole-body movements.
People with Asperger’s syndrome tend to have a slight abnormality in speech and language. They often have a limited range of intonation, making their speech unusually fast, jerky or loud. Individuals suffering from this syndrome generally have difficulty understanding figurative language and tend to use language literally. Children with this syndrome appear to have difficulty understanding non-literal language which includes humor, irony and teasing.
Currently, no particular gene has yet been identified as a cause of Asperger’s syndrome. However, multiple factors are believed to play a role in the expression of autism, given the phenotypic variability seen in children with Asperger’s syndrome. Evidence for a genetic link is the tendency for this syndrome to run in families of which family members have behavioral symptoms similar to Asperger’s syndrome but in a limited form, such as slight difficulties with social interaction.
An example of a person who suffers Asperger’s syndrome is Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese electronic game designer and the creator of Pokemon. He has allegedly been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, being described as reclusive and eccentric by Nintendo officials.
Luke Christopher Jackson is another example of a person suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. He is an author who rose to fame at the age of 13 when he wrote a book from first-hand experience about what it is like to have Asperger’s syndrome. The book created a sensation and greatly increased general awareness of the condition of this syndrome.
Spreading awareness of Asperger’s syndrome has been done in makings of movies such as “My name is Khan” and “Adam”. A book such as “House Rules” has also done a lot in spreading awareness of this syndrome.
P/s: I recommend reading "The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time" if you're interested. It's about this 15-year old boy with Asperger's. :)