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A large-scale study of the characteristics of Asperger Syndrome

by Myles, B.S., Lee, H.J., Smith, S.M., Tien, K., Chou, Y, Swanson, T.C. et al

Myles, B., Lee, H., Smith, S., Tien, K., Chou, Y. & Swanson, T. (2007). A large-scale study of the characteristics of Asperger Syndrome. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 42(4), 448-459.

The article presents the results of a large-scale study of the characteristics of 156 individuals with Asperger Syndrome.  Asperger Syndrome is a subtype of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) with specific diagnostic criteria that is different than autism.  Many disagreements exist about the differential diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and autism.  The purpose of this study was to further describe the characteristics of AS in an attempt to understand and define the diagnostic characteristics of AS.  Thirty three females and 123 males were recruited to participate in the study.  An array of established assessments was conducted during the study including The Family Demographic Profile, Empathy Quotient Questionnaire, Systemizing Quotient Questionnaire, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, Behavior Assessment System for Children, and the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire.  The results of the study indicate that the participants in the study had average to above average IQ but had difficulty empathizing with others which is consistent with available research.  There are marked gaps between IQ and adaptive skills in the individuals with AS.  Challenges in adaptive skill areas have been noted as part of the characteristics of AS but are not included in the diagnostic criteria.  Others areas noted in the study were behavioral difficulties, both overt and covert, sensory sensitivity, and average skills in providing order and predictability. Research in the area of AS is still relatively new. The characteristics of individuals with AS is not clearly understood and more research is needed to develop an empirical foundation for understanding individuals with AS.

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