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Conditions

Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Autism & Asperger syndrome

Autism and its milder form Asperger Syndrome, often referred to together as autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) are conditions which make it hard for sufferers to communicate or interact with others, or to develop what most people would consider ‘normal’ emotional responses. Around half a million people – that’s one in a hundred – have ASD in the UK. The condition can be mild, in which case the impact on ordinary life is low, or so severe that sufferers struggle to function in social situations. It can make the world seem a strange and scary place.

So what are the main symptoms of ASD in kids? Often they will be late learning to walk and talk, and have difficulties communicating their feelings or needs. Even after they have learned to talk, they will have difficulty maintaining a conversation. As they get older they may seem distant and detached, uninterested in affection, come out with unexpected or inappropriate things in social situations and struggle to do what they’re told.

ASD sufferers lack what’s called a ‘social imagination’. This doesn’t mean they have no imagination at all. Far from it! Instead they tend to take jokes, slang and phrases like ‘that song is wicked’ literally. They won’t be interested in making friends or playing games, may become obsessed with things or routines, and will appear insensitive to other’s people’s feelings.

There are no specific medical tests to confirm ASD, but a doctor will be able to give a diagnosis by the time a child is three years old. Nor is there any specific cure but, depending on the severity, kids will be assigned a range of specialists who will help your child as he or she develops.

All of this can make living with an ASD-sufferer challenging, yet many kids with mild Aspergers cope fine in ordinary schools and go on to live fulfilling, independent lives. Your doctor or specialist will be able to recommend support groups, and for an insider’s view of the condition, the acclaimed novel The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night by Mark Haddon describes the world from the perspective of a 15 year old by with Aspergers.

Take the Autistic Quotient test here >

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

My son was diagnosed with atypical autism at the age of 13 he is 16 now has never had any medication or treatment seen the specialist twice and the next appointment is very soon and they want to sign him off he is on the very mild side of the spectrum that I am aware of but my question is what does it mean to be signed off is he better?





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I'm 13 and I am worried I have mild Autism! My brother is mildly Autistic and I'm worried that I do too. I also think that my dad is. I have to have everything need and tidy otherwise I break down and get angry. I never finish tests, I'm quiet, I don't really have any friends because I don't know how to kinda go up to them and I don't laugh at jokes. I don't like trying new things and I like to have a routine, but I'm not that sever with it because I don't mind changing it of we are doing something different. I have asked mh parents if I can be assessed but they won't take me seriously because my brother is the favourite. What should I do? I don't want this business of not finishing exams to affect my future with GCSE's and A levels.





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I've been diagnosed with dyslexia / dyspraxia but have never undergone an official test for autism / autistic traits. My score on the Autism test was 44 which is above the clinical threshold. I'm not sure whether it is worthwhile asking my GP about testing. I've always been 'weird' but can just about cope with work. I don't know whether a diagnosis would provide any practical help or just make things harder.





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I have Asperger's Syndrome and am fairly okay talking to most people, except other girls/women. I've not had a proper relationship before and it would mean such a lot to me to have someone special in my life. Just to ask, is there any help or are there any good ways of getting help to increase your chances of finding a partner when you have Asperger's Syndrome?





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Hello, I strongly suggest that you have people that love and support you who know you have Asperger's around you, inform any potential partner of your condition and if they are meant to be they will support you and accept you.

My son has been in trouble since he has been really young and was always put in a room on his own at school because he would throw things and use abusive language. I often thought it was because my ex partner my sons dad who was an alcoholic and a control freak that he was the way he was. I am no longer with his father and haven't been for many years. He is now 13 and still struggles at school, likes routine and struggles with his emotions and has never been able to talk to any one about how he feels or accept responsibility for his bad behaviour. It has been a massive struggle for me on a day to day basis and he is now at a support school but I want to get a diagnosis for him as I do believe he has autism.





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Hi I am 13 and I think I have autism I have to follow a routine every day and get upset if don't . Everything has to be planned , everything has to be organized . I get a lot of stress and anxiety for the simple things . I don't know whether to ask for help.





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I'm not sure if my 25 year old son as aspergers he knows number plates from are street of 100 houses were he works which is over 100 vehicles.He rings up at least 7 times a day just to mUch shore everyone is ok. He writes for weeks about something even months also I've had to explain sarcasm to him when someone is be sarcastic he does not get it. Songs he will play over and over again and his bedroom is always clean.





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I have really bad anxiety attacks, and its making my life difficult at the moment,i just don't know how to control the panic attacks and i just getting fed up of it. and i have also asperges too.





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I am quite astounded that you feel that aspergers is a mild form of autism! Maybe there should be a new diagnosis my daughter has missed 3 yrs of school and although her intelligence is amazing she will never become the adult that she should become because she cannot access mainstream education and because there is very little help for Aspie kids she is probably going to live her life on benefits and secluded = she will always be considered a burden on the state as she does not fit into a neat and tidy box you say embarasing bodies but does that not include her mind. It is bizarre to me that if she had something wrong with her genitalia she would get more help!!!





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I am 14 years old and am a female I have been to the hospital about my problem and they said I have aspergers I am just waiting for an appointment its been over 6 months ive been waiting and I keep getting frustrated and freaking oug every day k have to stretch my clothes and every thinks gotta be perfect abd neat and now I cant sleep am up and down till 3 and I get up at 6 for school my doctor gave me sleeping tablets ive been on them for about 5 months and now there not helping.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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