Teenage Aspergers: Symptoms, Treatment And Care To Take

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Aspergers in teenagers might affect their quality of life, including social and interpersonal skills. Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger’s disorder belongs to the group of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) impacts roughly 2.8% of 8-year-old children, affecting approximately one in every 36 kids. Although this syndrome is not a severe mental illness; children might find it hard to communicate, act, and show repetitive behavior if left untreated. However, they will have good language and cognitive skills (1).

Read on to know about the symptoms, causes, management, and long-term outlook of Asperger’s syndrome in teenagers.

In This Article

What Does Asperger’s Look Like In Teenagers?

To an untrained individual, a teen with Asperger’s may come across as a neurotypical child behaving differently. Teens with this disorder usually like to follow a monotonous lifestyle and hate any changes in their routines. Also, they may consider themselves a misfit among their peers and show disinterest in interacting with others.

They seem to make little or no eye contact, have few facial expressions, and come across as socially awkward as they may fail to understand conversations, gestures, or sarcasm. A teen with Asperger’s syndrome usually has less severe symptoms than a teen with autism, and they also don’t usually have speech delays (2).

What Are The Symptoms Of Asperger’s Syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome generally appear in early childhood and develop progressively in adolescence. Asperger’s symptoms may vary among teenagers; however, some common symptoms include (1) (3):

  • Avoiding social interactions and friendships.
  • Sensitivity to light and sounds.
Sensitivity to light and sound could indicate Asperger's in teens

Image: Shutterstock

  • Sensory processing difficulties
  • Using nonverbal communication – not being able to converse despite having good language skills.
  • Repeating behaviors and having a fixed routine and interests.
  • Weak executive functioning skills
  • Inability to empathize with others or comprehend typical social norms and instructions.
  • Frequent aggressive or eccentric behavior – being frustrated if things don’t happen their way.
  • Being emotional about things said to them and being overly sensitive to criticism.
  • Difficulty making friends.

What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome In Teenagers?

The exact cause of Asperger’s syndrome is not known. However, experts believe that genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors play a role.

In addition, Pregnancy-related aspects such as older parents during conception,  chromosomal abnormalities such as fragile X syndromeiXA genetic intellectual disorder that leads to learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and hyperactiveness , and medications taken by the mother for anxiety or mood disorders might also increase a child’s risk for Asperger’s syndrome (4).

protip_icon Did you know?
Around 11 to 40 percent of children and teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are likely to be affected by anxiety disorders (13).

Several genes are associated with Asperger’s syndrome, with the major one being the GABRB3 gene, which is also associated with other Autism spectrum conditions (5). Research is ongoing for understanding the different genetic variations and environmental factors that are potential triggering factors of this syndrome.

Note: Asperger’s syndrome is not caused due to bad parenting, immunization, or other social circumstances.

When To See The Doctor?

You may consider taking your child to a qualified health professional (child psychologist or speech pathologist) if they show any signs of autism or have difficulties in (6)

  • Making friends of their age or speaking or playing with them.
  • Communicating; they seem to be awkward and lost.
  • Understanding others’ perspectives and feelings.
  • Understanding the nuances and depth of a language.

protip_icon Research finds
A recent group study demonstrated that teens with Asperger’s syndrome are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems, including depression and bipolar disorderiXA mental disorder characterized by extreme mood swings, depressive lows, and manic highs . Therefore, it is vital to identify your teen’s symptoms early to initiate timely diagnosis and management (14).

How Is Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnosed?

Take your child to a doctor if they show any signs of autism

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Doctor may conduct standardized screenings for diagnosing Aspergers in teens

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Diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome is made by a medical professional experienced in studying autism spectrum disorders. It is based on thorough observation and assessment of the teen’s developmental history. In addition, the teen may be questioned to learn about their learning and social abilities, movement skills, and special interests.

The evaluation can take a few years and is usually done at home, school, or in a playroom setup (3). In addition, a doctor may conduct standardized screenings such as autism-specific screening tests and blood or genetic tests to look for any underlying inherited disorders such as fragile X syndrome or hereditary metabolic disordersiXA set of hereditary disorders that interfere with the body’s metabolism, usually occurring due to the absence of a hormone or enzyme (7).

What Are The Treatment Options For Asperger’s Syndrome?

A combination of medications and therapies to improve social, behavioral, and communication skills is proven to help teens with this condition.

  • Medications: Risperidone and aripiprazole are FDA-approved drugs given to reduce the symptoms and control self-injurious behaviors. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine and paroxetine are effective in reducing repetitive behaviors. Mood stabilizers and stimulants help control hyperactivity and eccentric behavior in teens (7) (8).
Risperidone is an FDA-approved drug for symptoms reduction

Image: Shutterstock

These drugs must be taken under the supervision of your child’s psychologist or doctor, as they pose a risk of side effects.

  • Alternative therapies: Cognitive behavioral therapyiXA type of talk therapy in which a person is trained to manage mental issues by turning their negative thoughts into positive ones , family therapy, and applied behavior analysis-based therapies may be recommended to help the teen build social skills and independent living skills such as punctuality and grooming.
  • Other therapies include intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, individualized educational programs, auditory integration training, and specialized diet therapy (8). These therapies are not widely used as they are still being researched. Hence, you may consult the child’s physician before proceeding with any of these therapies to provide a personalized treatment regimen according to the child’s requirements. 
protip_icon Quick tip
Talk to your teen to comprehend their likes and dislikes and design effective treatment and management strategies to manage their negative emotions.
IV immunoglobulin therapy can be useful for teens with Aspergers

Image: Shutterstock

Is There A Cure For Asperger’s Syndrome?

There is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome (3). However, timely diagnosis can support individuals in taking necessary steps to avoid potential risks. Moreover, with a vast range of treatment options available, it is now possible to treat and manage the condition. Additionally, education on the matter can help individuals better understand its associated challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Asperger’s get worse in the teenage years?

There is a lack of sufficient information to prove this hypothesis. Nevertheless, if the teen has Aspergers along with other mental health problems or psychiatric conditions, their symptoms may increase (10).

2. Can you discipline a teenager with Asperger’s?

To discipline your teenager with Aspergers, you may try these tips (11):

  • Maintain healthy communication and positive relationships with your teen
  • Set realistic and clear rules and tell them the consequences of following or not following them
  • Have a fixed routine for all their habits and interests
  • Educate them about the essential skills to deal with difficult situations
  • Remember to reward appropriate behaviors for reinforcing their strengths and self-esteem.

3. Does Asperger’s affect the physical appearance of teenagers?

Although it is not well known whether Asperger’s syndrome could impact the physical appearance of teens, one study discovered that boys with the Autism spectrum disorders showed distinctive facial characteristics compared to their typically developing peers (12).

Asperger’s in teens is a type of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characterized by communication and behavioral problems. Teens with Asperger’s struggle to fit in their social circle, lead a monotonous life, and are disturbed by slight changes to their routine. The symptoms of this disorder include being sensitive to light and sounds, avoiding social interactions, eccentric behavior, and repeating behaviors. Though there is no cure for this condition, consult your healthcare provider immediately as you notice any signs in your teen. This will ensure that they receive an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment to aid their transition into adulthood.

Infographic: Tips For Making Teens With Asperger’s Syndrome Independent

Teenage is the time when all individuals aspire for independence and often have conflicts with their parents. A teen with Asperger’s syndrome should be trained to commute and survive independently. You may gradually let them do things independently from a young age while ensuring their safety. Go through the infographic to learn some tips to balance the risks while letting independence to your teen with Asperger’s syndrome.

ways to teach independence to teens with asperger’s syndrome (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • A teen with Aspergers may avoid social interactions, be sensitive to criticism, and use more non-verbal communication.
  • Although Asperger’s falls under autism spectrum disorders (ASD), it is not a severe illness.
  • It is diagnosed by a medical professional by observing the teen and after conducting screening tests.
  • The treatment includes medication and other alternative therapies to holistically improve the teen’s life.

Explore the intricacies of Asperger’s Syndrome, a unique facet of autism influencing social interactions and communication. Delve into its challenges and the potential for gratifying experiences through an enlightening video.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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  5. Varun Warrier et al.; (2013); Genetic variation in GABRB3 is associated with Asperger syndrome and multiple endophenotypes relevant to autism.
  6. Autism and adults.
  7. Stephen Brian Sulkes, MD Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  8. Melissa DeFilippis and Karen Dineen Wagner; (2016); Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents.
  9. Susan L. Hyman, et al.; (2020); Myers, Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  10. B Mirkovic and P Gerardin; (2019); Asperger’s syndrome: What to consider?
  11. Discipline strategies for autistic children and teenagers.
  12. Kristina Aldridge et al., (2011); Facial phenotypes in subgroups of prepubertal boys with autism spectrum disorders are correlated with clinical phenotypes.
  13. Autism Statistics and Facts
  14. Alexandra C. Kirsch et al. (2019); Association of Comorbid Mood and Anxiety Disorders With Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  15. Depression and low mood: autistic teenagers.
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