Objectives: The aim of this study is to identify children with characteristics of AS within children diagnosed with autism in the special education units in schools in Malacca, Malaysia.
Methods: This study was undertaken using a standardised rating scale specifically formulated to identify individuals with AS (Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale or ASDS) and assessment of the children’s current language and IQ skills. These findings were compared to their language and cognitive developmental history, acquired from GADS parent interviews forms, to verify whether they fulfil the DSM-IV criterion for AS: ‘no speech and cognitive delays’.
Results: It was found that 2 children were ‘very likely’ to have characteristics of AS as determined by the standardised rating scale. However, their full scales IQ (FSIQ) indicated by the WASI IQ test fell in the low average and borderline range. For current language skills, even though one of the children has outstanding language skills, particularly in listening, speaking and reading, to some extent his writing skills are still quite low. Meanwhile, the other child did not record a high score, especially in writing, reading and speaking skills. GADS parent interview also revealed that both children had not used single words by age two, or communicative phrases by age three and they also have delays in cognitive development.
Conclusions: Even though 2 children were perceived by their parents and teachers as ‘very likely’ to have characteristics of AS, discrepancies in manifestation of their features make it impossible to absolutely verify that any child shows characteristics of AS. Furthermore, they do not meet the DSM-IV criteria for AS. Since their characteristics are hardly different from autism, they may then benefit from the wealth of knowledge available on how to support individuals with autism (Macintosh & Dissanayake, 2004). Therefore a dimensional rather than categorical approach would be more helpful in understanding the distinction amongst the PDD subtypes.
See more of: Cognition and Behavior
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype