The rumor that Argentinian soccer super star Lionel Messi has Asperger syndrome has been floating around for years. It started when his talent started to show in the Barcelona Fútbol Club. Many journalists went to his hometown in Rosario and discovered the story of a small boy --very short for his age-- who was known for being withdrawn. His classmates called him "El mudo" (The mute).
Further research revealed a quiet and reserved young man, with quirks and social differences. Then, Romario, the Brazilian player, tweeted: "Newton and Einstein also had a certain level of autism. I hope that like them, Messi surpasses himself every day and continues giving us his beautiful brand of football (soccer)."
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Although Messi is the most famous soccer player in the world, we still don't know if he really has Asperger, but the rumors have helped to put the condition in the front line.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Asperger:
1. Asperger syndrome is a Pervasive developmental disorder, which are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.
2. The main characteristic is social difficulties. People with Asperger syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language.
3. Although Asperger syndrome is similar in some ways to autism, there are some important differences. Children with Asperger syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development.
4. Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
5. Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
6. Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
7. Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
8. Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.
9. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation.
10. Famous people with Aspergers include Bill Gates and Temple Grandin. Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Mozart are thought to also have had it.
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