WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Asperger syndrome is a lifelong brain development disorder that leads to problems with social skills, behavior, and coordination. Your child's condition may not be diagnosed until he is in preschool, because his speech and development may be normal in other ways.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
- Your child's special interests, routines, and rituals may prevent him from learning other basic skills. Even with treatment, your child may not learn to get along with others or do well in school. He may be bullied. His behavioral problems may not improve. Your child may not be able to live on his own as an adult. He may have trouble with even basic skills, such as getting dressed.
- Without treatment, your child may not learn to communicate effectively or to live on his own. He may harm himself or others, and his symptoms may get worse. Feeding problems may prevent your child from getting the nutrition he needs. He may get dehydrated.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
- Developmental screening tests: Your child's caregiver will ask when your child reached developmental milestones. Some examples of milestones are when your child began to reach for items or smile at others. Your child's caregiver will ask you questions about your child's behavior. A psychologist may ask you and your child's teachers about his behavior at home and at school. He may watch your child while he plays or talks with other children. He may test your child's memory, problem-solving, coordination, reading, writing, or numbers skills.
- Blood tests: Caregivers may draw blood from your child to test for anemia (decreased red blood cells) or lead poisoning. These conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to Asperger syndrome.
- Hearing and vision tests: Caregivers may rule out other causes of speech problems by testing how your child sees and hears.
- Psychological screening tests: A psychologist may check for other problems that can look like Asperger syndrome or exist with it. Some examples are anxiety, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Sleep medicine: This medicine may be given if your child has trouble sleeping. It may make him feel drowsy during the day.
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors: These medicines help decrease your child's anxiety and improve his mood. They may also help decrease behaviors that are repeated over and over.
- Antiseizure medicines: This medicine is given to control or decrease seizures.
- Antipsychotic medicines: These medicines are given to decrease anger and anxiety. They may also help keep your child from hurting himself.
- Social skills training: This kind of group therapy can help your child learn to approach and respond to other people.
- Behavioral therapy: This therapy helps your child learn to control his emotions. It also teaches him how to manage his routines and rituals.
- Occupational and physical therapy: Therapists help your child improve his coordination and work with him to master skills such as dressing himself.
- Speech therapy: A speech therapist can help your child learn how to talk to others more effectively.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.