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Q: Aspergers Syndrome ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Aspergers Syndrome
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: david24-ga
List Price: $14.00
Posted: 22 Nov 2002 05:10 PST
Expires: 22 Dec 2002 05:10 PST
Question ID: 112494
For the attention of aceresearcher-ga only 

What evidence is there that Aspergers Syndrome (AS) can be cured - or
at least its anti-social impact dramatically reduced. I believe that
people with AS have a completely different way of thinking, which is
unalterable - but I want to be proved wrong. I would like to know what
demonstrable evidence there is that the downside effects of AS can be
dramatically reduced(not the 'Son-Rise' programme)- whether those
means are dietary, counsellory or medical.

Request for Question Clarification by aceresearcher-ga on 22 Nov 2002 09:59 PST

You are sweetheart! I felt bad about taking so long with my Answer to
your previous question, and did not feel that I should accept the fee.
Since you are offering -- can you tell me whether you are more
interested in treatment for children, or for adults? That way I can
add a little more value to my Answer.

Subject: Re: Aspergers Syndrome
Answered By: aceresearcher-ga on 22 Nov 2002 11:23 PST

You didn’t specify whether you were interested in treatment
information for adults, children, or both, so I am going to include
some of each. I am also going to include links to websites which I
felt would provide helpful information.

There is no evidence that Asperger's Syndrome (usually considered a
subtype of autism) can be cured, because, as of yet, medical science
has not found a cure. Likewise, at this point, no one has been able to
prove that the world-perception and thought-process mechanisms of
people with AS can be altered.
Unfortunately, at this stage the causation of Asperger’s is still so
poorly understood, that current treatment options typically consist of
cognitive therapy for children, and coping strategies for adults. In
addition to the compulsion to adhere to a rigid set of internally
generated rules for the way things must be done, the hallmark of
Asperger’s is the person’s tendency to fixate / perseverate on one or
two specific areas of interest to the exclusion of all others, to the
detriment of the person’s social and professional lives. This can
manifest in behaviors such as arranging things in a specific order,
collecting lists of things by category, pursuing to an extreme degree
a hobby of collecting related objects or amassing information on a
certain subject, and participating in all "social" interactions
exclusively in relation to the subject of their fixation.
DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome 
While many sources refer to Asperger’s as a type of Autism, current
thinking is that Asperger’s is its own distinct Pervasive
Developmental Disorder, in the same "Autistic Spectrum Disorders"
class as Autism, Rett's Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorders,
and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Defined.
The DSM-IV Criteria, from the Indiana Resource Center for Autism’s
(Indiana University, Bloomington) website:
"A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at
least two of the following:
   1) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors… 
   2) failure to develop peer relationships… 
   3) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or
achievements with other people…
   4) lack of social or emotional reciprocity 
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior,
interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the
   1) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and
restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity
of focus
   2) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional
routines or rituals
   3) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms… 
   4) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects 
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g.,
single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3
E. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental
Disorder or Schizophrenia." 
From the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education: 
"Individuals with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have
difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They
often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular
subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading
nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS
has difficulty determining proper body space. Often overly sensitive
to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with AS may prefer
soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no
one else seems to hear or see. It's important to remember that the
person with AS perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many
behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological
differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad
behavior, and most certainly not the result of "improper parenting." 
From the archived version of Kaan R. Ozbayrak, MD’s Aspergers Syndrome
"What are the differences between Asperger's Disorder and 'High
Functioning' (i.e. IQ > 70) Autism?
It is believed that in Asperger's Disorder  
- onset is usually later  
- outcome is usually more positive  
- social and communication deficits are less severe  
- circumscribed interests are more prominent  
- verbal IQ is usually higher than performance IQ
  (in autism, the case is usually the reverse)
- clumsiness is more frequently seen  
- family history is more frequently positive  
- neurological disorders are less common"
So what all this means, in terms of treatment options, is that the
Asperger’s patient is typically more socially functional, and has more
motivation for social interaction than the typical Autism patient.
Subsequently, cognitive and behavioral therapies seem to have some
success, in both children and adults, in assisting the Asperger’s
patient in improving their social skills, and in helping them to
control their obsessive tendencies. In addition, anti-depressants and
certain other medications seem to provide some assistance in achieving
behavioral modification and control of the obsessive tendencies.
From PsychNet UK’s page on Asperger’s: 
"There is no specific treatment or "cure" for Asperger's Disorder. All
the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or
Counseling and Psychotherapy… 
- Individual psychotherapy to help the individual to process
  the feelings aroused by being socially handicapped.
- Parent education and training. 
- Behavioral modification. 
- Social skills training. 
- Educational interventions 
- For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants
(methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine, pemoline),
Clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline).
- For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate,
carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol,  propranolol),
Clonidine, Naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, haloperidol).
- For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine,
fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (clomipramine).
- For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic
Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine, nortriptyline)." 
From "Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Disorders of
the Autistic Continuum", by Sally Bloch-Rosen, Ph.D. (April 8 1999)
"Volkmar and Klin (1997) suggest that skills and concepts be taught in
an explicit and rote fashion where possible, employing a parts to
whole verbal instructional approach. Learning strategies will be most
effective when based on the specific pattern of strengths and deficits
demonstrated in neuropsychological assessment. If motor and
visual-motor deficits are identified, physical and occupational
therapies are indicated. Interventions designed to improve
communication and social skills may have any or all of the following
as its goals, depending on the specific needs of the individual:
enhanced awareness of one's own nonverbal behaviours (e.g., the use of
verbal inflection, eye contact, and gaze in social interaction);
verbal decoding strategies for more accurately interpreting the
nonverbal behaviour of others; more integrated processing of visual
and auditory stimuli; improved social
awareness and perspective taking. Techniques for teaching nonverbal
communication skills have been described in the literature on learning
disabilities (e.g., Minskoff, 1980). " 
"Asperger Syndrome", by Stephen Bauer, MD, MPH, provides a great
section on treatment approaches for children (please see the article
for the full text):
"- The classroom routines should be kept as consistent, structured,
and predictable as possible...
- Rules should be applied carefully. Many of these children can be
fairly rigid about following "rules" quite literally...
- Staff should take full advantage of a child's areas of special
interest when teaching. The child will learn best and show greatest
motivation and attention when an area of high personal interest is on
the agenda...
- Most students with AS respond well to the use of visuals: schedules,
charts, lists, pictures, etc...
- Avoid language that may be misunderstood by the child with AS, such
as sarcasm, confusing figurative speech, idioms, etc...
- Explicit, didactic teaching of strategies can be very helpful, to
assist the child gain proficiency in "executive function" areas such
as organization and study skills...
- Insure that school staff outside the classroom, such as physical
education teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria monitors, librarians, etc.,
are familiar with the child's style and needs and have been given
adequate training in management approaches...
- Try to avoid escalating power struggles. These children often do not
understand rigid displays of authority or anger and will themselves
become more rigid and stubborn if forcefully confronted...
- Approaches that have been most successful utilize direct modeling
and role playing at a concrete level (such as in the Skillstreaming
curriculum). By rehearsing and practicing how to handle various social
situations, the child can hopefully learn to generalize the skills to
naturalistic settings." 
Helpful links for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome: 
FAAAS - Families of Adults Afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome’s page on "Adults With Asperger's": 
The Asperger Marriage Web Site 
Helpful links for parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome: 
OASIS - Online Asperger Syndrome Information & Support  or
Asperger Syndrome Australian Information Centre 
AACAP’s page of links to adolescent psychiatrists.  
Other helpful resources: 
PubMed’s list of Extracts from medical literature regarding Asperger’s
(currently 455 documents)*&dispmax=*
WebRing List of nearly 100 sites devoted to Asperger’s: 
"The Geek Syndrome", excellent, lengthy article, By Steve Silberman,
Wired Magazine (December 2001)
This article includes interesting information about the high
preponderance of Asperger’s diagnoses in Silicon Valley, perhaps due
to the fact that Asperger’s seems to have a strong genetic component,
and that computer programming is a profession friendly and well-suited
to people with the characteristics of Asperger’s! 
Wired Magazine’s Asperger’s Quotient Test  
From the archived version of Kaan R. Ozbayrak, MD’s Aspergers Syndrome
Asperger's Disorder Clinicians (U.S.) (Last update on April 12, 2000)
This is a list of clinicians who stated that they are familiar with
Asperger's Disorder and willing to evaluate children and/or adults who
have this problem. I choose to list their names and contact phones
and/or addresses as a service to the community, without taking any
responsibility regarding their qualification and/or competence since I
do not know them personally. Please do not contact me, contact them to
obtain any further information, before you make your final decision
about requesting an appointment.
Links to Asperger’s related websites:
Clinicians from other countries
Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the U.S. 
Maryland Asperger Advocacy & Support Group
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Parental support group  
Ohio State’s Nisonger Center.

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Before Rating my Answer, if you have questions or need additional
information, please post a Request for Clarification, and I will be
glad to see what I can do for you.
I hope this Answer provides you with exactly the information you

Clarification of Answer by aceresearcher-ga on 22 Nov 2002 11:24 PST

Please let me know if you are interested in having me attempt to
provide more detail for treatments for adults, or for children.



Request for Answer Clarification by david24-ga on 23 Nov 2002 09:33 PST
It was a good and valuable answer. Fee is well deserved. I'm
interested in adults for AS.  Don't leave it so long this time :)


Clarification of Answer by aceresearcher-ga on 23 Nov 2002 14:10 PST

I have dug up a few more resources and will need to look through them.
I'll try to make it speedier this time. Thanks again for your patience
and understanding -- you're a peach!


Clarification of Answer by aceresearcher-ga on 13 Feb 2003 21:40 PST

A Google Answers user has provided some information for you in a
Comment. I am posting this Clarification so that you will receive an
e-mail notification to look at this Question again.


Subject: Re: Aspergers Syndrome
From: level80-ga on 13 Feb 2003 20:15 PST
The information the researcher has provided you is a few decades out
of date. I am an adult with Aspergers Syndrome and do research into it
at Liverpool University. Although they are factually correct that
there is no "cure" or wonder drug in fact there never will be as there
are multiple causes of autism.

However certain ways to ameliorate the symptoms have been developed
and have had success in reducing symptoms in small scale trials. This
is down to the now accepted belief in most of the research community
that autism is the result of an underlying metabolic disorder.

For example - the gluten/ casein free diet. See the diet pages at the
Autism Research Unit - University of Sunderland -

There have also been many studies done into the efficacy of B6 and
magnesium. See the many links on B6 and magnesium from here :-

The Autism Research Institute have also over the decades collected the
questionnaires of parental evaluations of how effective various
treatments have been.

This is split in drugs, biomedical/non-drug/supplements which can be
found here
What evidence is there that Aspergers Syndrome (AS) can be cured

It can be ameliorated to such an extent that the patient does not
suffer clinical symptoms if various interventions are done early
enough. However the other medical problems underlying or possibly
causing the AS need to be sorted out first. Long term trials (eg
decades) for AS treatments have not yet been done due to the disease
and treatment regimes being discovered very recently.

Most research is not done on AS but autism. Aspergers Syndrome however
is an autistic spectrum disorder and could be described as "mild

 - or
at least its anti-social impact dramatically reduced.

The answer to that would go too long to go into. I'll just mention
social skills programmes, specialised employment service and
modifications made to the educational environment. That's more the
psychology side of Aspergers which is studied at the autism research
centre which used to be at but
has since moved to

I suggest you check out all the sites listed here -
and come to your own conclusions before deciding on the efficacy of
any treatments and whether the pros outweigh the cons.

> I believe that
people with AS have a completely different way of thinking,

Yes, this line of psychological theory is developed by
Simon-Baren-Cohen at ARC (Cambridge)

> which is
unalterable - but I want to be proved wrong.

Quite happy to prove you wrong! ;o)

> I would like to know what
> demonstrable evidence there is that the downside effects of AS can
> dramatically reduced(not the 'Son-Rise' programme)- whether those
> means are dietary, counsellory or medical.

Well there are various scales used for asessing Aspergers Syndrome.
Each person in the research group is assessed and a number generated
based on the severity. The effectiveness is based on further tests
after treatment and after comparison to a control group. What type of
evidence do you mean? Research projects? Evidence that would hold up
in a court of law? Circumstancial evidence? You're reminding me of
some professors now setting work!

I could look up papers answering your question that have been
submitted to research journals - but I would no be allowed to repost
them here due to copyright restrictions

Regarding the below answer. Dr. Tony Attwood suggested changes to
cognitive behavioural therapy for people with AS. As far as I know
long-term trials have not been done as it was thought of relatively
recently (past few years).

I might also point out that there is a link with AS and various other
disorders. For example depression and anxiety attack. The Medical
Research Council in December 2001 produced a report into autistic
spectrum disorders (which covers AS) which can be found here -

I also run the Wirral Aspergers Group and have given talks on this
subject many times.
Subject: Re: Aspergers Syndrome
From: level80-ga on 13 Feb 2003 20:20 PST
Oh I forgot to mention recent MRI studies done on the differences in
brains of people with AS to those without at our MARIARC centre.

The National Autistic Society (which covers people with Asperger
Syndrome) has details of some of the educational
modifications at primary school, secondary school, sixth form age and
higher education for people with Aspergers Syndrome.
Subject: Re: Aspergers Syndrome
From: level80-ga on 13 Feb 2003 22:18 PST
This is a much better written attempt than mine. It was a paper
presented at a conference two years ago -

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