Asperger syndrome no longer exists as a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used to diagnose what is now known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. The term Asperger syndrome is still used by the autism community to describe a set of symptoms that present as impaired social interaction skills, while communication skills remain more intact than they are for those with more severe forms of autism.
Asperger syndrome can make it difficult for a person to:
- Read and respond to social cues
- Read and respond to facial expressions and body language
- See things in “shades of grey” rather than in black and white
- Demonstrate adequate organisational or planning skills
- Take another person’s perspective
- Make inferences about another person’s thoughts, words or actions
- Tell white lies
- Respond flexibly to novel situations or changes in routine
- Problem-solve in social situations
- Maintain conversations on non-preferred topics
- Establish and maintain friendships
- Show empathy
- Share in humour and jokes
- Understand whether another person’s behaviour is intentional or unintentional
- Regulate their own emotions and emotional reactions
- Regulate sensory input, meaning that they might find busy or noisy environments overwhelming
- Communicate their thoughts, needs, feelings, and desires to the extent necessary to fully express themselves
Aspergers syndrome can also bring with it “meltdowns”, anxiety, obsessive or compulsive behaviours, or depression.
The good news is that all of these symptoms can be remediated through Applied Behaviour Analysis. Applied Behaviour Analysis is the method of intervention used at The Star Academy, delivered by teams of Board Certified Autism Technicians. The Star Academy’s Clinical Director is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, and oversees initial and ongoing training of all of The Star Academy’s Board Certified Autism Technicians.
What takes the Applied Behaviour Analysis intervention programmes at The Star Academy to an even higher level of excellence is access to the comprehensive curriculum designed and researched by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in the United States, incepted in the 1980s and still one of the foremost treatment centres for autism worldwide. In the early days, The Star Academy brought experts from the United States to South Africa to design treatment programmes and train staff. Today, The Star Academy can proudly say that it offers the same high standard of treatment available in the United States, right here in South Africa.
If you or someone you know has Aspergers syndrome or any other severity level of autism spectrum disorder, referring them to The Star Academy will allow you to rest assured of the highest quality of intervention. With this intervention, individuals with Aspergers syndrome can live happy, productive, socially-integrated lives.