Asperger's syndrome (also known as Asperger's disorder, Asperger's, or AS) is a disorder on the autistic spectrum. It manifests in various ways and can have both positive and negative effects on a person. It is typically characterized by issues with social and communication skills. Due to the mixed nature of its effects, it remains controversial among researchers, physicians, and people who are diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.
Asperger's syndrome is not differentiated from other autistic spectrum disorders by a minority of clinicians who instead refer to it as high-functioning autism (HFA) because the claim that the normal early development and lack of any language delay mean that the symptoms differ only in degree from classic autism. Early in life people with AS can have learning disabilities. However, IQ tests may show superior intelligence or very high memory capacity in diagnosed individuals.
The diagnosis of AS is complicated because of the lack of standardized diagnostic criteria. Instead, several different screening instruments and sets of diagnostic criteria are used. AS is often not identified in early childhood, and many individuals are not diagnosed until they are adults. Assistance for core symptoms of AS consists of therapies that apply behavior management strategies and address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Many individuals with AS can adopt strategies for coping and do lead fulfilling lives - being gainfully employed, having successful relationships, and having families. In most cases, they are aware of their differences and can recognize if they need any support to maintain an independent life.