Asperger’s Disorder is a relatively new disorder, first being included in the mental health professionals’ diagnostic book, the 1994 version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV-TR, or DSM IV-TR for short. Because it is a new disorder, Asperger’s Disorder is usually not on the top of the list of disorders that most doctors consider.
This can be helpful in that children are not likely to be misdiagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder when they actually have a different disorder. However, it simultaneously results in children who truly have Asperger’s Disorder being diagnosed with a different disorder. Because the symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder are vague, other conditions can easily be mistaken for this disorder. It is therefore very important that a child who appears to have Asperger’s Disorder be evaluated for other disorders as well.
The most difficult disorder to distinguish from Asperger’s Disorder is high functioning autism, as discussed previously. In addition to other disorders, your doctor must distinguish between whether your child is going through a phase or is having a reaction to a dramatic change in life, such as divorce, trauma, or abuse. Finally, it is more common than not for children with Asperger’s Disorder to have at least one other disorder. Oftentimes, the second disorder overshadows the symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder so much so that Asperger’s Disorder might be missed altogether.