Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Asperger Syndrome

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Asperger Syndrome

(Asperger Disorder)


Asperger syndrome is a brain disorder. It results in social, behavioral, and communication problems.

It is considered an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Early treatment improves outcomes.


Asperger syndrome is caused by problems with how the brain develops. The reason why this happens is not known. It is thought to be caused by genetics or problems during pregnancy, such as infection.

Infant Brain—Period of Rapid Development.

Infant Brain and skullhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=67606760Infant_brain.jpgInfant Brain and skullNULLjpgInfant Brain and skullNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\Infant_brain.jpgNULL106NULL2008-01-154003006760_12037Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Asperger syndrome is more common in boys. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having a brother or sister who has it
  • Being born to older parents:
    • A mother who is 40 years of age or older, or
    • A father who is 50 years of age or older
  • Problems during pregnancy or delivery
  • Using certain medicines during pregnancy
  • Genetic problems

There may also be other developmental, medical, or mental health problems. The reason why is not known.


Symptoms of Asperger syndrome start early in life. There may be:

  • Communication and social skills problems, such as:
    • Not looking others in the eye
    • Problems with back and forth communication
    • Not pointing or showing things to others
    • Talking about the same thing for a long time without noticing others are not interested
    • Having body language that does not match what is being said
    • Not understanding another person's body language
    • Having a strange tone of voice, such as like a robot
    • Not understanding another person's feelings and needs
  • Narrow interests and behaviors, such as:
    • Strange behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
    • Having a strong interest in specific topics
    • Getting upset by small changes in routine
    • Being sensitive to sensory input, such as noise


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. The doctor may also ask about the person's behavior and social and communication skills. A physical exam will be done.

Tests will be done to learn more about how the person's brain works. The tests will be given by a care team that is experienced in diagnosing ASD.

Other tests may be done to rule out health problems that have similar symptoms. They may include:


Asperger's syndrome cannot be cured. The goal is to improve function and quality of life. Most people who are treated can learn how to cope with this problem.

Treatment should be started early. Options are:

  • Speech and occupational therapy—to improve function
  • Social skills training—to improve how a person relates to others
  • Applied behavioral analysis to improve behaviors, such as communication and social skills
  • Services that provide support in school
  • Mental health counseling
  • Medicine—to help manage symptoms, such as anxiety


There are no current guidelines to prevent this health problem.





  • Asperger's syndrome. Autism Society website. Available at: https://www.autism-society.org/what-is/aspergers-syndrome.
  • Asperger syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/asperger-syndrome.
  • Autism spectrum disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/autism-spectrum-disorders
  • Hyman SL, Levy SE, et al. Identification, evaluation, and management of children with autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics. 2020;145(1):e20193447.


  • April Scott, NP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.