What is Asperger’s Disorder?
Asperger's Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger's Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mostly in European countries, or Pervasive Developmental Disorders ("PDD"), in the United States.
In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no room for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs and hinges, cappuccino, meteorology, astronomy or history.
The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944. An excellent translation of Dr. Asperger's original paper is provided by Dr. Uta Frith in her Autism and Asperger Syndrome.