Important research and organizations

Because autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed on the basis of abnormalities and delays in language development and social skills as well as the presence of repetitive non-functional rituals and abnormal behaviors, there can be disagreement amongst health workers as to the precise diagnostic criteria and how the different disorders within the group are defined and classified.

There are however, certain criteria that have to be present in order for a team of doctors, psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist and social worker to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome. These are, two symptoms of impaired social interactivity and one symptom of restricted and repetitive behavior and delay and abnormalities in language development.

There are also tests that are available that can approximate the autism quotient of individuals. But the primary method used in the diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome are observation of the child and interviews. Brain imaging has also been used to some extent.

There are still many questions that are unanswered when it comes to Asperger’s Syndrome, thats why a lot of scientists are doing extensive research in every possible field. One study is using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show how abnormalities in particular areas of the brain cause changes in brain function that result in the symptoms of AS. Other studies include a clinical trial testing the effectiveness of an anti-depressant in individuals with AS and HFA who exhibit high levels of obsessive/ritualistic behavior and a long-range study to collect and analyze DNA samples from a large group of children with AS and their families to identify genes and genetic interactions that are linked to AS.

Also, many organizations have been established to help the sufferers and their families. They mostly disseminate information and provide links to professional help. here is a short list of websites that can be helpful.

MAAP Services for Autism, Asperger’s, and PDD

http://www.maapservices.org/

Autism Society of America

http://www.autism-society.org/

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

Autism Network International (ANI)

http://ani.autistics.org/

Autism Research Institute (ARI)

http://www.autismresearchinstitute.com/

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