Asperger Profiles: Genetics


Nobody knows for sure what causes an Asperger profile. Current research indicates that there is a genetic foundation for this constellation of traits, involving a number of different genes. So it is not surprising that when a person receives an Asperger/ASD diagnosis, the family often realizes that many relatives also have exhibited characteristics resembling Asperger Syndrome or other similar profiles. At AANE, we have met or talked with thousands of families. We see that in many families where a child has been diagnosed with AS, one or both biological parents will also have AS, or experience Asperger traits to some degree. People also report that many relatives from previous generations (from eras when AS was unknown) were eccentric or quirky, were diagnosed with mental illnesses or hospitalized, lived reclusive lives, were chronically unemployed, or married and divorced multiple times. At the same time, many relatives may have shown high intelligence, superior memory, single-minded focus, original thinking, or unusual interest areas. Some may have achieved great success in engineering, math, writing, composing, philosophy, or other fields. These relatives, whether quirky, gifted, or both, may well have been people with undiagnosed AS, or an Asperger profile.