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Asperger’s and Related Disorders
  1. Ronald B. David,
  2. Candace H. David,
  3. Lisa S. Riley
  1. The Medical College of Virginia, Department of Pediatrics, 5875 Bremo Road, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23226; Email: vachildneuro{at}


Ants, bees, non-human primates and many other animals live in societies. Clearly, from an evolutionary view point, social competence must have a neurobiological basis, of course altered by social interaction. We are all neurobiologically scripted for intuitive social interaction and are inherently social creatures. But, as expected, social competence, like any other neurocognitive function, must be a variable falling along a continuum. There are bound to be outliers. In this review we will describe three types of outlier: Asperger’s syndrome will be contrasted with two similar disorders, high functioning autism and non-verbal learning disability.


Leo Kanner (1943) and Hans Asperger (1944), amidst a world war and a continent apart, independently described children who can best be described generically as having a ‘disorder of intuitive social competence’. The autistic children described by Kanner were generally lower functioning. Asperger’s (1944) paper was written in German and, until cited by Lorna Wing

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