It is common for a person with Asperger's to be misdiagnosed, particularly with social anxiety (Social Phobia
). There are characteristics which can be used as diagnostic tools, however.
Here are the "official" diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV for Aspergers Disorder:
The following criterion are from the DSM-IV. Asperger's disorder is one of five specific "Pervasive Developmental Disorders" listed:
A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
- failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity of focus
- apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
- stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
- persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language e.g., single words used by age two years, communicative phrases used by age three years).
E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
F. Criteria are not met for another specific pervasive developmental disorder or schizophrenia.
So, if you have two criteria from part A, one from Part B, and if these factors cause significant impairment in your functioning, then you are diagnosable.as having this disorder.
Some clues are inability to maintain eye contact, inability to form strong emotional bonds, social phobia or anxiety, physical mannerisms or rituals. The guide above is your true indicatgor of whether or not you have this disorder.
I wish you great success and shall keep you in my prayers.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC