Multiple Sclerosis & Asperger’s Syndrome: What is the Connection?

Adults who live with the autistic spectrum disorder known as Asperger’s will often experience a variety of unique health complications during the course of their lives. For some, a neurological complication may have developed in response to genetic pre-disposition for which Asperger’s is then exacerbated. If you are an adult living with Asperger’s syndrome, it is important to become familiar with the neurological disorders that may be complicated by your condition, including the risks for late onset of multiple sclerosis.

Asperger’s syndrome, while not fully understood, is believed to have some connection to a neurological deficit. Like multiple sclerosis, Asperger’s syndrome may not develop in childhood but, instead, manifest early in adulthood when full autism symptoms were never present. Because there is a concern about the neurological complications, physicians often will test an adult with Asperger’s syndrome to be sure the change in body movements and slowed communication are not attributed to a multiple sclerosis condition.

While it is possible to suffer from both Asperger’s syndrome as well as multiple sclerosis, most adults will have an onset of one or the other – and not both. But, because the change in physical movement is so close in nature, you can expect that testing will be done to rule out, or confirm, the presence of either condition. Seeking treatment from not only a neurologist but also a mental health professional may be necessary.

If your physician has determined that you have any type of neurological disorder – whether it is a complication of Asperger’s syndrome or an adult-onset of multiple sclerosis – an occupational therapist will become a vital part of your routine healthcare. While both conditions progress differently with age, there is physical impairment associated with each – an impairment that may result in loss of mobility and decreased ability to perform activities of daily living. For this reason, it is important to follow all doctor recommendations and to be sure that you establish a good relationship with an occupational therapy team.

Multiple sclerosis and Asperger’s syndrome are two distinct conditions that each have a neurological component. For adults who have a multiple sclerosis risk, there may be a greater risk for developing more complicated health issues of Asperger’s syndrome. It is for this reason that neurological health care teams must be involved with your care.

Sources: The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, by Tony Attwood

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