Asperger syndrome: Early signs and slef-perception in adolescents and young adults
Sammanfattning: Asperger syndrome: Early signs and self-perception in adolescents and young adults. Petra Dewrang Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, 2010 ABSTRACT Dewrang, Petra (2010). Asperger syndrome: Early signs and self-perception in adolescents and young adults. Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Asperger syndrome (AS) is considered to be a disorder within the autism spectrum and it is in most cases a lifelong disabiIity that affects life in an amount of aspects. It is primarily characterized by impairment in social interaction, restricted patterns of interests and behaviour, speech and language peculiarities, and non-verbal communication problems. In this thesis the overall aim was to investigate the specific behaviours in earl y childhood as assessed retrospectively by the parents and to explore self-perception and self-worth in the adolescents and young adults. The specific purpose of study I was to retrospectively explore the differences between a group of 23 adolescents and young aduIts with Asperger syndrome and a group of 13 typically developing comparison (C) individuals. The groups comprised 14-24-year-olds and the AS group was composed of 19 males and 4 females and the C group of 6 males and 7 females. A parental self-rating questionnaire, Symptoms of Autism Before the Age of 2 (SAB-2) was used and comprised seven fields: Contact and social activity, Responses to sensory perceptions, Communication and language/speech, Food/feeding and sleep, Play and fixations/rituals, Movements and motor skills, and Development and behaviour. An eighth field of possible Rarly suspicions was also a part of the questionnaire. The results showed a significant difference between the AS and the C groups in all the fields, primarily Food/feeding and sleep and Contact and social activity. It was also obvious that many parents were aware ofbehavioural anomalies already in infancy. In study II the specific purpose was to explore how young individuals with AS perceived themselves regarding self-understanding and self-worth compared to a C group of young individuals. The study comprised the same participants as in study I plus three more participants in the AS group and one participant fewer in the C group. The AS group showed lower rates of self-worth on a self-rating questionnaire (the I think I am scale) but not on a conversational interview (the Selfunderstanding interview) which instead revealed qualitatively different self-perceptions. A questionnaire for measuring anxiety/absence of anxiety was also used and showed no differences between the AS and the C groups. Keywords: Asperger syndrome, early diagnosis, parental concern, questionnaire, SAB-2, selfperception, self-understanding, self-worth
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