History of Asperger Syndrome

Hans Asperger was an Austrian pediatrician. Asperger syndrome's name is derived from his. Born on a farm outside Vienna, Asperger displayed an early talent for languages. He was a member in the youth movements of the 1920s. He earned his medical doctorate in 1931, and found his first job a year later as a member of the university children's clinic. In 1934, his career developed with a move to the psychiatric hospital in Leipzig.

At the very time Kanner was studying the 11 children in Baltimore, Maryland, the Vienna-born Dr. Hans Asperger (1906-1980) was studying 200 families with children who had similarity to the children Kanner was observing except that they appeared not to have the severe language delays. In 1944, he published an article in German that was only translated into English in 1989. Although the term, Asperger's Syndrome was first used in 1981 by the British psychiatrist Lorna Wing whose daughter is diagnosed with autism, the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th edition, uses the term "Asperger's disorder".

Asperger's syndrome, also called Asperger's disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder. PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.

Although Asperger's syndrome is similar in some ways to autism -- another, more severe type of PDD -- there are some important differences. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger's syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older.

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