ASPERGER SYNDROME: Know the Signs & Symptoms

In my clinical practice, I have become familiar with some very subtle common and early first signs of Asperger Syndrome in young girls, from birth through to pre-school years. The following are some very common early characteristics, traits, gifts and talents that I have seen in my work over the years. The typical first signs of a parents bring in her child are intense emotional storms, anxiety, not wanting to go to school, a strong will and rigid thinking processes (“bossy and argumentative”).

  • 1. Intense emotions: in particular separation anxiety, stress, anxiety or distress. This is coupled with an inability to be comforted by affection, distracted by a toy or change in situation or by discussion or conversation with an adult.
  • 2. Sensory Sensitivities: there are most often sensory sensitivities involving vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, balance and/or movement and intuition or a 6th sense. This is known as sensory processing disorder (SPD). First signs may include a sensitive head, not liking to have their hair brushed or washed, clothing sensitivities, food sensitivities.
  • 3. Coping with transitions and/or change: an inability or difficulty coping with change or a resistance to change.
  • 4. Language skills: atypical or unusual traits in terms of the development of language skills. May have more formal or pedantic use of language. May not be able to express in words what she wants to say.
  • 5. Speech: may not typically be delayed, however there may be a loudness or softness in the voice, a monotone, and/or maybe a foreign accent. May regress to babyish talk when stressed, anxious or avoiding something. She may have begun talking very early.
  • 6. The social use of language: may be apparent in that the linguistic profile can often include semantic-pragmatic difficulties, so that the pedantic speech may be apparent and theïr are noticeable eccentricities with the “art of conversation”. May use bigger words than her peers
  • 7. Hyperlexia: may have taught herself to read before formal education. Aspiengirls often have an intense interest in reading and develop an advanced vocabulary.
  • 8. Play: adults may notice the aspiengirl may not want to play with others or she may direct others play, rather than play in a reciprocal and co-operative manner. There is an element of her being “controlling” or “bossy”. She may tell adults that she finds her peers play confusing, boring or stupid. She may prefer to play on her own, with her animals/toys or with boys.
  • 9. Interests:  an aspiengirl’s interests is usually different to other girls, in its intensity and quality, rather than the actual interest itself. Often, play can be observed as more of complex set-up’s, organizing, sorting, collect or grouping items rather than actually playing with them.
  • 10. Conventionality: Aspiengirls are born “öut of the box” and may be observed playing unconventionally. Some prefer Lego, the sandpit, trucks or cars or dinosaurs. Many think in different or unconventional ways, asking continual and exhausting amount of questions pertaining to how things work.
  • 11. Appearance and clothing: Young Aspiens may look more tomboyish in appearanceor ultra princess-like, usually preferring clothing that is comfortable. She may want the tags cut out of her clothes and complain about the seams in her socks. She may prefer to wear the same outfit day in and day out.
  • 12. Imagination: Aspiengirls often have advanced imaginations preferring to spend time involved in: fiction, books, fantasy worlds, fairies, unicorns, ponies, pegasus, talking to and/or having imaginary friends or imaginary animals.
  • 13. Writing:  Aspiengirls are often interested in writing and write their own stories on sticky notes, journals, fiction at an early age.

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