Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Can Asperger syndrome be cured? Watch

Announcements
    • TSR Support Team
    • Very Important Poster
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    Is there any concrete proof that Asperger syndrome is caused by genetics? From what I have seen Asperger syndrome does not run in families and appears to strike almost randomly, so if it's genetic then it's either a very recessive gene or a mutation rather than a hereditary gene.
    If it doesn't run in families then why:
    do I know someone who has it, as do 5 or her 6 children and her ex husband?
    Out of my family, my sister is the only child who doesn't have it. Also have cousins on both sides of the family with it

    You're more likely to have it if a family member has it. There's no other known cause for it. It's true that if you have certain medical conditions, you're more like to have it. (such as a condition a friends child has where he has part of his 18th chromosome missing)

    I also have a few friends with the condition whose children have it. But both children have Downs Syndrome as well.

    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autisti...es/Causes.aspx
    https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/...t-Sheet#3082_5
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    If it doesn't run in families then why:
    do I know someone who has it, as do 5 or her 6 children and her ex husband?
    Out of my family, my sister is the only child who doesn't have it. Also have cousins on both sides of the family with it

    You're more likely to have it if a family member has it. There's no other known cause for it. It's true that if you have certain medical conditions, you're more like to have it. (such as a condition a friends child has where he has part of his 18th chromosome missing)
    Not according to information obtained over a long term (nearly 15 years) by a local Asperger syndrome support group. Their findings are that it is very random and parents rarely have another family member with Asperger syndrome or similar traits.
    • Offline

      20
      (Original post by Arran90)
      Officially there is no cure for Asperger syndrome although instances of people who have cured themselves are known to exist. Those who have cured themselves usually do so around the age of 18 to 22. I don't know of any instances above the age of 25.

      I have met a couple of these people. They come across as clearly neurotypical but they have documentary proof that they once had Asperger syndrome. Unfortunately I have not met them whilst they were younger to get an idea of what they were like back then.

      What is interesting is that neither of them were high academic achievers at school or had particularly good GCSE grades.

      It makes me wonder whether Asperger syndrome is genetic or caused by some other factor which is reversible.
      Asperger's disorder is known to be genetic in origin, as are other ASDs and SLDs. There is evidence that its symptoms/manifestations can be managed through application of oxytocin, though the effects are markedly temporary and therefore it is not viable as a "cure."

      (Original post by Tiger Rag)
      No it's not cureable. If you've "cured" yourself of it, you didn't have it in the first place. You do learn coping strategies.
      This - mostly. That being said, there are historic cases of people (such as that of Ann Hodges) who spontaneously stopped being autistic at or around the onset of puberty, which reinforces the notion that it may be influenced by hormones. I don't know any more than that though, so I can't comment.

      But Asperger's (and AFAIK the whole of the autism spectrum) is a different format in which the brain wires itself. I tend to think of/explain it as the brain using a different architecture to NT people; where an NT person might be running the equivalent of an x86, an AS person would be running a PPC or ARM. Fundamentally incompatible: we can accept similar document files (such as words, what we see/feel/taste/blah) but don't come with the same drivers (body language, facial expressions, whatever), even if we can cobble them together as we get older - which, again, I think of as being that where NT people come with that stuff in ROM, we have to run it consciously and emulate it.

      Might be a bad analogy but it's never failed me before.

      But anyway, yeah. AS brains are different to NT ones, and the only way to change that permanently would be to change the physical structure of the brain - which is, of course, impossible.
      • Thread Starter
      Offline

      16
      ReputationRep:
      Exactly how many people with Asperger syndrome have submitted themselves to genetic tests in order to determine whether they have any peculiar genes not found in neurotypical people?
      • TSR Support Team
      • Very Important Poster
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      Exactly how many people with Asperger syndrome have submitted themselves to genetic tests in order to determine whether they have any peculiar genes not found in neurotypical people?
      I don't know anyone who has. But how else do you explain why quite a few people have siblings or parents with the condition?
      • TSR Support Team
      Online

      20
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      This is interesting. Are you saying that there is a psychological condition / pervasive developmental disorder that is yet to be discovered?
      I'm not saying there is or isn't, but it could definitely be possible. New conditions are still being discovered and it could explain some things like a-typical presentations of special needs' like aspergers or cases where it appears to have been cured. OCD is an example of a relatively new condition which is now being used to explain more and more things, so it shows that it is still possible to discover new things.
      • Thread Starter
      Offline

      16
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Kindred)
      I'm not saying there is or isn't, but it could definitely be possible. New conditions are still being discovered and it could explain some things like a-typical presentations of special needs' like aspergers or cases where it appears to have been cured. OCD is an example of a relatively new condition which is now being used to explain more and more things, so it shows that it is still possible to discover new things.
      Take into account that Asperger syndrome has only been known about in the English speaking world since around 1994 or 1995.
      • TSR Support Team
      • Very Important Poster
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      Not according to information obtained over a long term (nearly 15 years) by a local Asperger syndrome support group. Their findings are that it is very random and parents rarely have another family member with Asperger syndrome or similar traits.
      Do you have a link please? I think I've met a person who doesn't have a relative with the condition. (ignoring the friend whose child has a more complex condition called Rett Syndrome)
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      Aspergers and other such autism spectrum conditions can never be 'cured' as such. However, one can learn strategies and techniques meaning it can be disguised. Basically being Aspergic means that you do not naturally learn social skills. So you have to do it the 'long way'. I know this from experience. When I was younger I was a very odd kid to say the least, and was diagnosed with Aspergers. But now nobody would guess, although I do make the occasional slip-up.
      Offline

      14
      ReputationRep:
      I have Asperger's and you can rarely tell I have it, but I told my closest friends at sixth form (I was at a different school prior to that) and they were so lovely about it. The best thing is they don't treat me any different to what other people at my old school did, which is a relief. I've came through some tough times because of it e.g. being bullied and people not believing in me, but all of that has only made me stronger. They said I couldn't do sixth form. I'm currently in Year 13. They said I might aswell not apply to uni because I'd never get in. I'm currently holding an unconditional offer because that uni clearly wants to do a lot with me.

      My parents' theory is that my Asperger's developed from another condition (congenital hypothyroidism, which I've suffered with since birth) but I guess you can't really tell.

      When I was diagnosed with it aged 11 I was a different person but I've calmed down such a lot, and I'm 18 at the end of July. I've still got Asperger's - and i don't want it to be cured because let's face it, I wouldn't be me without it.


      Posted from TSR Mobile
      • TSR Support Team
      • Very Important Poster
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by AshEntropy)
      Do you sometimes wish it was curable?
      We have no idea what a cure will do. They've tried to treat one of the conditions I have with a drug which is well known for some utterly awful side effects. I've now got permanent hearing loss in one ear because of it. I'm not willing to risk some more awful side effects for a cure. It's not a life threatening condition that will eventually kill me.
      • Thread Starter
      Offline

      16
      ReputationRep:
      A parent who's eldest son has Asperger syndrome has serious doubts that it is genetic. She thinks that it is caused by teaching children reading, maths, and academic subjects at too young an age. Her theory is that the human brain of a baby is very 'plastic' but hardens with age. If academics are taught at a very young age then the brain is shaped and wired towards this often at the detriment of people skills. If academics are not taught then the brain will shape and wire itself towards people skills. In other words, teach academics and the child will be able to read a book but struggle to read people. Do not teach academics and the child will be able to read people but will not be able to read a book until later in life.

      Her eldest son was pushed with academics at a young age and he could read and do simple sums whilst at nursery – something not taught until reception class – but he rarely interacted with the other children and chose to play with toys alone. His three younger siblings were not pushed academically at a young age but were academically average and have grown up neurotypical.

      Findings from an Asperger syndrome support group are that the eldest child is more likely to develop Asperger syndrome than a younger sibling. If this is true on a large scale then it casts doubt on whether Asperger syndrome is genetic or the result on ones upbringing at a young age.

      Part of the problem stems from the one-dimensional academic mentality of the education system. The state school system was set up to teach academic subjects. League tables and evaluation of education progress in children are based on academic ability. Almost every educational reform over the decades has been about improving standards in academic subjects. Qualifications in hard subjects like maths and physics are valued more than soft subjects like drama and psychology. The 11 plus and SATS tests are based on English language and maths – something that a high proportion of children with Asperger syndrome don't have much difficulty with – but it excludes physical, creative, and people oriented subjects - something that a high proportion of children with Asperger syndrome are likely to have difficulty with in one way or another. The social side of children is totally neglected or expect to just develop naturally with no training or intervention. Children can get all the help in the world at school with reading, spelling, and maths, but help with social skills and soft skills for children with Asperger syndrome, or other social skills deficiencies, is much more difficult to obtain.

      The parent has raised questions as to whether Asperger syndrome is more prevalent in some societies over others. Does it exist at all in simple or primitive societies that aren't academic and reading material is scarce? There is some anecdotal evidence that Asperger syndrome in Britain is more common in middle class areas where parents value academic education, want their children to do well academically, and have plenty of books in the house, than in lower class areas where parents just prefer their children to muddle along and do not value academic education or have many books at home. A child who grows up in a home with books but no TV or only educational / factual / highbrow entertainment programmes will almost certainly develop differently from a child who grows up in a home with no books and a TV beaming out soaps and X-Factor.

      Asperger syndrome was totally unknown in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s and, most acutely, no evidence exists that the condition would be co-discovered if Hans Asperger's paper wasn't translated from German to English in 1991. I have wondered whether Asperger syndrome was much rarer in the 1970s and 1980s than today because the education system was completely different back then. This point has been discussed by an Asperger syndrome support group. There was no National Curriculum and none of this obsession with academic standards, testing, league tables etc. that has prevailed since the 1990s. Parents just expected their children to muddle along at primary school and the early years of secondary school. If parents wanted to buy a book about primary school level English, maths, and science in the 1980s from a bookshop for use at home then they would have got strange looks and the book would have to be ordered in for them. Now the entire nation is awash with these books and they even sell them in supermarkets. Schools and teachers do not endorse these books but no middle class family seems complete without them.
      • Section Leader
      • Clearing and Applications Advisor
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      A parent who's eldest son has Asperger syndrome has serious doubts that it is genetic. She thinks that it is caused by teaching children reading, maths, and academic subjects at too young an age. Her theory is that the human brain of a baby is very 'plastic' but hardens with age. If academics are taught at a very young age then the brain is shaped and wired towards this often at the detriment of people skills.
      Then why doesn't everyone have Aspergers?
      Offline

      15
      ReputationRep:
      OP, do you have any links to studies or evidence to back up what you're saying? Would you mind linking them here?
      • Community Assistant
      Offline

      20
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Tiger Rag)
      I don't know anyone who has. But how else do you explain why quite a few people have siblings or parents with the condition?
      (Original post by Arran90)
      Exactly how many people with Asperger syndrome have submitted themselves to genetic tests in order to determine whether they have any peculiar genes not found in neurotypical people?
      Cambridge I know are running studies on this atm - I got an email asking me to submit a cell sample for it.

      There have been studies hinting at genes involved in the past, but I don't have anything saved on this computer. try https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=genetics+autism
      • Community Assistant
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by sherbet_lemons7)
      OP, do you have any links to studies or evidence to back up what you're saying? Would you mind linking them here?
      Don't need them, already known that its not curable.
      Offline

      15
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Vikingninja)
      Don't need them, already known that its not curable.
      I know that. It's a developmental disorder, not a disease! I was just trying to get him to develop the dicussion, instead of just saying "X is true".
      • TSR Support Team
      • Very Important Poster
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      A parent who's eldest son has Asperger syndrome has serious doubts that it is genetic. She thinks that it is caused by teaching children reading, maths, and academic subjects at too young an age. Her theory is that the human brain of a baby is very 'plastic' but hardens with age. If academics are taught at a very young age then the brain is shaped and wired towards this often at the detriment of people skills. If academics are not taught then the brain will shape and wire itself towards people skills. In other words, teach academics and the child will be able to read a book but struggle to read people. Do not teach academics and the child will be able to read people but will not be able to read a book until later in life.
      My brother showed signs at 6 as a did a friends child. I have a friend whose child is waiting to be diagnosed. he's just turned 4. His brother is 6 and is waiting for a formal diagnosis. If it wasn't genetic, then why would all but one of their siblings and both parents (the only child without the condition has a different dad) have the condition?

      I really don't think you know what you're talking about.
      • Thread Starter
      Offline

      16
      ReputationRep:
      1. Asperger syndrome has only been known about in the English speaking world since around 1994 or 1995, so it is a relatively new condition that is still not fully understood. No evidence exists that the condition would be co-discovered if Hans Asperger's paper wasn't translated from German to English in 1991. Conversations with people who are knowledgeable about Asperger syndrome – including clinical psychologists – have revealed to me that official reports and references to Asperger traits in medical and educational publications (remember that GPs and teachers are usually first in line to encounter children with undiagnosed Asperger syndrome before psychologists are) are very few and far between before the 1990s so the pieces of the puzzle were not falling into place back then. It could be argued that the development of the internet in the late 1990s would have enabled people with, or parents of children with, (undiagnosed) Asperger syndrome to share information and experiences, ultimately leading to the condition being co-discovered around 2000ish.

      2. The failure of the medical and educational community to pick up on Asperger traits in the 1970s and 1980s points to it being a very rare condition back then. Since 2005ish Asperger syndrome has become an officially recognised condition in the educational and medical communities, and a reasonably well known condition amongst the general public, with countless books and articles published on the subject. There are no accurate figures for how many people have Asperger syndrome but I was verbally informed by an educational psychologist that almost every primary school in England has at least one kid diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

      3. If Asperger syndrome is genetic then the percentage of people with Asperger syndrome (diagnosed or undiagnosed) today should be almost identical to that from the 1970s and 1980s. If Asperger syndrome is not genetic then the percentage of people with Asperger syndrome (diagnosed or undiagnosed) today could be significantly higher than that from the 1970s and 1980s.

      4. There have been many changes in the education system and parent’s attitudes to school since the early 1990s. A much higher proportion of parents place a stronger emphasis on academic prowess before KS4 rather than just letting their children muddle along, enjoy school, work hard, and behave well which was usual in the 1970s and 1980s. The explosion in the number of books, videos, and software about primary school level English, maths, and science on the market along with the never ending demand for private tuition is a testimony to this. This raises a question as to whether pushing kids academically is detrimental to their social development and a root cause of (the rise of) Asperger syndrome. Has any serious research taken place into children with Asperger syndrome who come from very non-academic families? I have received unreliable and unverified information that children with Asperger syndrome who come from large council estates who’s parents have not bothered much with education prior to starting school are extremely rare.

      5. Almost all studies into Asperger syndrome (published in English) has been by (white?) culturally British or American people using culturally British or American people as their subjects. Far less research has been carried out into people of culturally foreign backgrounds, or follow religions other than Christianity or Judaism, in the UK or the US. Therefore it is far less clear how Asperger syndrome manifests in such people with a different cultural background or social expectations. My own experience of the NAS is that it is dominated by white, British, socially conservative, middle class people from the suburbs and the shires. The NAS superficially claims to uphold an inclusive and multicultural society but in reality it has a generally poor knowledge of foreign cultures and non-Christian religions.

      6. There are questions as to whether the occurrence of people with Asperger syndrome is equal throughout different races and nationalities or whether it is more commonplace in some races and nationalities than others. The NAS insists (without real evidence) that Asperger syndrome occurs equally in different races but it has been noted many a time at more local levels, and even amongst psychologists, that it is very uncommon amongst black children and young adults in Britain, around amongst south Asians, and most common of all amongst those of white British origin. There is no reliable information for Chinese, eastern European, and smaller ethnic groups - such as Turkish or Middle Eastern.

      7. I have wondered if there are differences in Asperger syndrome in the UK and the US due to differences in society, culture, the education system, and social expectations between the two countries. I read somewhere that the US has some of the most complex, illogical, opaque, and unapparent social rules of any nation on earth. It’s a country where even mere survival requires the ability to read people and pick up social cues then respond appropriately to a higher degree than in most other countries. It is notable that the world is awash with social skills books and the vast majority of English language ones are written by Americans presumably for Americans or immigrants to the US. How common are social skills books in languages other than English for countries other than the US? A similar American bias applies to books about Asperger syndrome although there are some good British titles.

      8. It is possible that there are undiscovered psychological conditions / pervasive developmental disorders that produce temporary or medium term Asperger syndrome like symptoms (a few years?) that eventually self cure or can be completely cured with the right help and support. This could explain why people officially diagnosed with Asperger syndrome have manage to cure themselves of it.

      9. Psychology – like all social sciences - is not an exact science and is a science in a state of flux. At one time homosexuality was officially recognised as a mental health disorder.
      • Section Leader
      • Clearing and Applications Advisor
      Offline

      21
      ReputationRep:
      (Original post by Arran90)
      1. Asperger syndrome has only been known about in the English speaking world since around 1994 or 1995, so it is a relatively new condition that is still not fully understood.
      So nobody had Aspergers before 1994 or 1995? You sure about that...?
     
     
     
    Reply
    Submit reply
    TSR Support Team

    We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

    Updated: March 16, 2017
  1. See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  2. Poll
    Will you be richer or poorer than your parents?
  3. See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  4. The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.