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Aspergers Syndrome and High Functioning Autism

Aspergers syndrome and high functional autism are considered separate diagnoses along the spectrum of autistic disorders. Even so, there are many similarities between the disorders so that some consider them to be different labels for the same condition.

Both those with Aspergers syndrome and those with high functioning autism have difficulties with sensory functioning and cannot tolerate certain noises or certain kinds of tactile stimuli. By definition, those with either disorder have an IQ which is at, near or above the normal intelligence range. Both conditions involve a child or adult who has learned to function in society or in their surroundings by relying on the skills they happen to be good at.

Children with high functioning autism and those with Aspergers syndrome think better in visual terms. They see pictures in their heads when recalling something and don’t have a particularly good ability to think in words. Both diagnoses are associated with a relative inability to understand nonverbal cues and facial expressions.

The primary difference noted in the diagnostic criteria for each disorder is the finding of a greater speech delay in high functioning autistics when compared to those with Aspergers syndrome. Others feel this represents a continuum and that this shouldn’t be enough to establish one diagnosis over another. Albert Einstein, for example, was felt to have characteristics of Aspergers syndrome, yet he couldn’t speak until he was three years old.

Unfortunately, there are no specific blood tests or other diagnostic tests to differentiate between the two diagnoses. Instead the diagnosis is based on clinical judgment and observation. Some children with tentative high functioning autism will catch up on verbal skills and will carry the same diagnostic appearance that Aspergers syndrome patients do. Their IQ may be at least as high as other children labeled with Aspergers syndrome.

Children with Aspergers syndrome and high functioning autism are both high functioning and, in general, they can all read, write, speak and understand. In the end, the final subtleties between the two diagnoses may just be a matter of semantics and may not represent a true difference in diagnoses.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said...  With asperger's being no longer diagnosed in countries that follow the dsm 5 it really starts to no longer matter, does it? I mean I know many hold on to the diagnosis as they prefer it somehow and I have been told (here in Australia ) my son's diagnosis will stay the same too, but it's long considered as a form of autism. I do NOT see the difference to hi-fu autism. I know a couple of asperger kids, they are all quite different of each other in their development.
•    Anonymous said... Great post! Thanks.
•    Anonymous said... I have even heard that high functioning should be dropped since that is really subjective.
•    Anonymous said... My son was diagnosed on Monday with Aspergers and the doc said in two months they are taking it out of the "autism" category.
•    Anonymous said... Tony Attwood that one must be careful to distinguish dichotomous between HFA and AS. At page 45 of the Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, he concludes that HFA and Asperger's have the same social behavior. He warns against academic dichotomy, which means to divide a whole into two non-overlapping parts. He then suggests that the whole is about a specter. Furthermore, he refers to different practice throughout the world, sometimes AS is used where HFA is used elsewhere, and vice versa. Moreover, he points to recent research indicating no difference in cognitive, social, motor, or neuropsychological tests. He concludes that both diagnoses may be used in the same cases. He also notes that HFA is used when symptoms are detected earlier than is common in AS. But it could also mean that parents and others have earlier discovered the autistic traits.
•    Anonymous said...it no longer matters ...Aspergers is high-functioning autism now. Same disorder - different name.

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1 comment:

Rayvn McTiernen said...

But there are still many difference between Asperger's and autism. Asperger's people always make sense when they talk but may feel that they are not expressing themselves correctly, or have that thing where they say, "I just didn't think about saying that." But my autistic friend OFTEN makes NO sense when he talks, or speaks so insanely metaphorically that only rare people with a certain bent for understanding can understand what he is saying - like those who see a meaning in Beck's lyrics. In addition Asperger's are way more arrogant then autistics, and although both are socially intelligent enough to know that the people who ask how your day's going when they ring of your groceries are stupid as fuck, the autistics are likely to accept this idiocy as a facet of life and possibly even make friends with such people anyway, where as the Asperger's will complain about it (which is a better option of course). Autistics will also try to "be nice" or "be polite" all the time, including acting in certain ways that are as dumb as the grocery store clerk, because they "do not want to offend people" or something.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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