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(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - Psychiatric Times - Category 1 Credit
To earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™:
Read the article "Current Clinical Practice in Asperger Disorder" from the November 2009 issue of Psychiatric Times, complete the posttest and the evaluation. (Note: A score of at least 70% must be achieved in order to be awarded credit.)

The posttest will be scored instantly and results will be shown onscreen. Please make a copy of your test results for your continuing education records. After submitting the activity evaluation, you may then print a Statement of Credit for your records.

You must keep your own records of this activity. Copy this information and include it in your continuing education file for reporting purposes.

CME LLC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME LLC designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CME LLC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider No. CEP12748, and designates this educational activity for 1.5 contact hours for nurses.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ toward recertification requirements.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Educational Objectives

After reading this article, you will be familiar with:

• How Asperger disorder (AD) differs from other autism spectrum disorders
• Clinical features and assessment of AD
• Pathophysiology associated with AD
• Treatment modalities appropriate for AD

Who will benefit from reading this article?
Psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals. To determine whether this article meets the continuing education requirements of your specialty, please contact your state licensing and certification boards.

In 1944, Hans Asperger published a description of 4 boys who had major social problems despite adequate cognitive and verbal skills.1 His original term for the condition was Autistischen Psychopathen im Kindesalter, usually translated as autistic psychopathy or autistic personality disorder in childhood. His use of the term “autistic” occurred a year after Leo Kanner’s classic description of the syndrome of early infantile autism but, because of the war, Asperger was likely unaware of Kanner’s paper.2

Asperger considered the disorder a personality factor rather than a developmental issue. He emphasized the centrality of social deficits in the face of relatively intact intellectual and linguistic abilities along with unusual circumscribed interests, motor difficulties, and a history of similar problems in fathers.3,4 The condition received scant attention in North America until Lorna Wing’s influential review and case series appeared nearly 40 years later.5 In her review, Wing termed the condition “Asperger syndrome,” which shaped the current term “Asperger disorder” (AD). She suggested some modifications to Asperger’s original description, such as the inclusion of females. Contrary to Asperger’s belief that diagnosis would be unlikely until children were of preschool age, Wing observed that some features, such as lack of pleasure in socialization and play, might emerge earlier. Wing suggested that the disorder might best be regarded as a variant of autism.

Distinguishing features of AD

Once introduced into English-speaking psychiatry, multiple conceptualizations and diagnostic approaches arose. Differences in diagnostic approaches, predominantly small sample sizes, and confusion with other disorders complicate the interpretation of clinical and research reports from this era. As part of the field trial for DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria for pervasive developmental disorders, international clinical reports of persons with AD were used to evaluate potential differences from other pervasive developmental disorders.6 Findings from the field trial suggested that children with a clinical diagnosis of AD:

• Are more likely to exhibit strength in verbal IQ than are those with autism

• Are more likely to show more severe social deficits than those with pervasive developmental disorder—not otherwise specified

• Tend to exhibit circumscribed interests

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