Asperger's syndrome: What to consider?

Encephale. 2019 Apr;45(2):169-174. doi: 10.1016/j.encep.2018.11.005. Epub 2019 Feb 5.


Asperger's syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is part of the large family of autism spectrum disorders. People with Asperger's syndrome have difficulties in social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication, and may display behavioural oddities, with stereotypies and limited interests. They show no language delay and their cognitive development is not marked by an overall delay but by specific impairments in certain areas such as the executive functions. The clinical presentations are very heterogeneous, varying according to age and psychiatric comorbidities. Screening, diagnosis and specialized treatment are not made any easier by the diversity of the clinical manifestations. Asperger's syndrome is often diagnosed belatedly, at 11years of age on average and even in adulthood in some cases. This late diagnosis has a significant impact on the risks of depression and a poor quality of life. However, in adulthood or in adolescence, certain situations, personality traits and cognitive profiles or certain comorbidities should suggest the hypothesis of an Asperger-type autism spectrum disorder. We propose here a review of the clinical situations at different ages of life that could help with the screening and the referral of patients to specialized clinicians for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Keywords: ADHD; Asperger's syndrome; Autism spectrum disorders; Developmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Asperger Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / classification*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations