In 2009, twenty-six year old, Zev Glassenber, with Asperger’s Syndrome, was a contestant on the Amazing Race. As you learn more about Asperger’s Syndrome ask yourself, “How did Zev deal with the social stress, physical challenges and constant changes as his raced around the world with his best friend Justin Kanew?” (Bruckheimer, Amazing Race 15, 2009)
While Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) has probably been around since the beginning of time, the earliest known research was done by an Austrian Pediatrician, Hans Asperger in 1994. Hans noticed that some of the children that had been referred to his clinic had similar personality and behavioral traits (Attwood, 2007). They were socially awkward, lacked empathy and were physically clumsy. He also noticed they had an intense interest and knowledge of one or few particular subjects. Hans’s work was not well known or used because it was written during World War II, in German and the Journal it had been published in was discontinued. Hans did not live to see his research become an official diagnosis let alone be named after him. Lorna Wing, a British Child Psychiatrist, was the first to use the phrase “Asperger’s Syndrome” in an article she wrote in 1981. In 1991 his work was translated into English and in 1992 Asperger’s Syndrome was added to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (tenth revision, ICD-10), published by the World Health Organization (Slaughter, 2009).
Some experts argue whether AS is really a different disorder or just a milder form of autism (Slaughter, 2009). Many of the traits are the same but the distinct differences are, those with Asperger’s have normal language and intellectual development and make more of an effort to make friends and participate in activities. (Web MD, 2010).
In the United States, Asperger’s Syndrome is diagnosed using the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR (rev. 4th ed., 2000). The revised fourth edition includes Asperger’s Syndrome as one of five distinct disorders that are classified together as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) which are neurologically based disorders and are characterized by delayed basic skills like communication and socialization. According to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria, an individual must exhibit both qualitative impairment in social interaction and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behaviors and interests. These must lead to significant impairment in some aspect of the individual’s everyday life. Additionally, Asperger's Syndrome is diagnosed only if there is no delay in language and cognitive development. If the individual exhibits language or intellectual delays, then the diagnosis is likely to be autistic disorder (Slaughter, 2009).
Social Symptoms may include not being able to read others facial expressions, tones, or normal social cues. When talking to someone with Asperger’s you...