According to data from the Center of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the largest departments of health in the USA, about 1% of the world population has some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder
On February 18, the International Day of Asperger’s Syndrome is celebrated, a date chosen in honor of the birthday of Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician who wrote about the syndrome for the first time, in 1944. In addition to the tribute, the date seeks to raise society’s awareness regarding this syndrome, which is a neurobiological condition that is part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is classified as a milder form of the condition. Called mild autism or level 1 autism by specialists, it causes the same symptoms as classic autism, but on a smaller scale.
ASDs gather neurological development disorders present since birth or early childhood, are defined by a set of behaviors that vary in degree and severity and are marked by three main characteristics: difficulty in socializing; behavioral changes such as mania, repetitive actions, excessive attachment to routines, intense interest in specific things and, finally, communication difficulties due to deficiency in the domain of language and in the use of imagination to deal with symbolic games.
People with this syndrome hear, see and perceive the world differently from other people, as they usually process additional details around them, especially with the senses, making sounds, smells, colors and feelings appear brighter, stronger and more intense.
According to data published in 2020 by the CDC (Center of Deseases Control and Prevention), one of the main Departments of Health in the United States, about 1% of the world population has some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In Brazil, there are no studies on the prevalence of autism, so there are no official figures.
Intelligence that draws attention
People with Asperger’s Syndrome have the ability to master the areas of knowledge in which they specialize, have intense interests and are highly focused. And that is one of the reasons that lead them to professional success. This is the case of Lionel Messi, a football player; Michael Phelps, professional swimmer; Van Gogh, painter; Greta Thunberg, a leading activist in the movement against climate change, among others.
The characteristics and symptoms vary according to each patient. However, it is important to note, as mentioned above, some signs such as difficulties in socialization, social communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, activities or interests since early childhood.
Generally, the diagnosis is made by a disciplinary team composed of doctors, psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychopedagogue and neuropsychologists. According to Dr. Edmundo Clairefont Dias Maia, a psychiatrist at HSANP Hospital, obtaining the diagnosis as soon as possible and having medical care is essential for the child to be able to lead life in the best possible way. “ The medical monitoring and that of other health professionals helps in the child’s development, giving him more autonomy. The results are noticeable in socialization, understanding and social interaction ”.
Asperger’s syndrome is a condition and not a disease, so there is no cure. However, there are several treatments and therapeutic interventions that provide opportunities for patients to develop and have a better quality of life. “Each autistic person receives individualized treatment, according to their case and needs, which often includes the use of medication to control some symptoms, such as agitation or excessive anxiety” reinforces Maia.
The accompaniment of a psychologist is essential and an important ally in this journey, as it allows the person to understand their experiences, expose their anxieties and fears, in addition to helping to deal with their own emotions. “Close monitoring by a psychologist is essential to help the person learn social skills and overcome the most diverse daily challenges without fear of judgment”, concludes the expert.
About HSANP: Reference hospital in the North Zone of Greater São Paulo and its mission is to be assertive with humanized practices, promoting the best experience and results in caring for people.
Asperger’s syndrome: learn more about high functioning autism and the importance of early diagnosis