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Facts about Asperger's Syndrome and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1. Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that hinders normal development, particularly in social and interaction skills. It can be difficult to distinguish from high-functioning autism.

2. Those with Asperger's syndrome lag behind peers in social skills and display repetitive behavior as well as intense focused interest in one or only a few topic areas. Clumsiness has also been attributed to the condition.

3. The condition is named after Austrian doctor Hans Asperger, who first described the specific set of symptoms associated with the disorder.

4. Abnormal nonverbal behavior can include poor eye contact, passive facial expression and awkward gestures. Individuals with Asperger's syndrome also have trouble reading other people's nonverbal cues.

5. Abnormal verbal communication can include speech that is monotone, has odd rhythm or is too quick. Asperger's syndrome may also cause individuals to monologue rather than converse when speaking with others, and to not understand humor.

6. Poor coordination among those with Asperger's syndrome can cause odd posture and gait as well as clumsy movement.

7. It is unknown what causes Asperger's syndrome to develop in some individuals. Studies show that genetics may play a large role, and that several regions in the brains of those with Asperger's have structural abnormalities.

8. Diagnosing Asperger's is difficult, and will probably involve a team of health care professionals. Diagnosis follows extensive observation and testing of the child, along with an interview with the parents about the child's behavior and communication especially in regards to social interaction.

9. Asperger's syndrome can be initially misdiagnosed as one of a variety of other developmental and behavioral disorders, since cognitive function is largely unaffected and other symptoms look similar to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.

10. Early training and therapy in communication, social skills and behavior modification can help encourage improvement in functioning. Some medications may help target specific emotional and behavioral symptoms to make managing the condition easier. There is no cure for Asperger's syndrome, but some argue it is a difference rather than a disorder that needs a cure.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews