Misdiagnosing ASD Level 1 [High-Functioning Autism]

"Is it possible for a child suspected of having HFA to be misdiagnosed as having a Personality Disorder?"

Personality disorders cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence. Still, though frequently found between the ages of 3 and 6, High-Functioning Autism [and Asperger's] is often misdiagnosed as a cluster B personality disorder, most often as the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

1. The HFA Child

This child is self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered and conversational skills (the give and take of verbal intercourse) are primitive. The child's body language - eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions - is constricted and artificial, akin to children with the Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. Nonverbal cues are virtually absent and their interpretation in others lacking. Yet, HFA and personality pathologies have little in common.

2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder and HFA

Consider pathological narcissism. The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment voluntarily. His social dysfunctioning is the outcome of conscious haughtiness and the reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with inferior and unworthy others. When confronted with potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, however, the narcissist easily regains his social skills, his charm, and his gregariousness.

Many narcissists reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The HFA child often wants to be accepted socially, to have friends, to marry, to be sexually active, and to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited. His initiative - for instance, to share his experiences with nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay - is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions stilted. He is incapable or reciprocating and is largely unaware of the wishes, needs, and feelings of his interlocutors or counter-parties.

Inevitably, children with HFA are perceived by others to be cold, eccentric, insensitive, indifferent, repulsive, exploitative or emotionally-absent. To avoid the pain of rejection, they confine themselves to solitary activities - but, unlike the schizoid, not by choice. They limit their world to a single topic, hobby, or person and dive in with the greatest, all-consuming intensity, excluding all other matters and everyone else. It is a form of hurt-control and pain regulation.

Thus, while the narcissist avoids pain by excluding, devaluing, and discarding others - the HFA child achieves the same result by withdrawing and by passionately incorporating in his universe only one or two people and one or two subjects of interest. Both narcissists and children on the autism spectrum are prone to react with depression to perceived slights and injuries - but HFA children are far more at risk of self-harm and suicide.

3. The use of language

Children with most personality disorders are skilled communicators and manipulators of language. In some personality disorders (Antisocial, Narcissistic, Histrionic, Paranoid) the child’s linguistic skills far surpass the average. The narcissist, for instance, hones language as an instrument and uses it to obtain Narcissistic Supply or as a weapon to obliterate his "enemies" and discarded sources with. Cerebral narcissists actually derive Narcissistic Supply from the consummate use they make of their innate loquaciousness.

In contrast, the HFA child, though verbose at times (and taciturn on other occasions) has a far more limited range of tediously repetitive topics. Youngsters on the autism spectrum fail to observe conversational rules and etiquette (for instance, let others speak in turn).

The HFA child is unaware and, therefore, unable to decipher body language and external social and nonverbal cues and gestures. He is incapable of monitoring his own misbehavior. Psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines, schizotypals, histrionics, paranoids, and schizoids are similarly inconsiderate - but they control their behavior and are fully cognizant of reactions by others. They simply choose to ignore these data.

==> Click here for information on the specific traits of high-functioning autism, and the corresponding recommended parenting strategies...

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Best Comment:

My friend has been told his whole life that he has autism but meaning Aspergers, I learned that autistism is actually very different than Aspergers and autism revolves around not being able to learn meanwhile Aspergers is just a disorder meaning you cannot connect or feel with others. I realized I do not think my friend has Aspergers, he solializes perfectly with me, there are times he does not pick up social cues but he is still a very caring person and generally knows when something is wrong or right. I believe he has severe OCD, and anxiety because he gets so anxious he stutors and cannot talk and I think he had anger management as a child because he has every single sign in these disorders (not anger now... but still self harm when in upsetting situations in front of other people like he will bite himself and then say I bite myself when i'm upset, I know he does this for attention and it probably gets him attention at home, but when hes with me I don't pay attention to it so he doesn't do it really like he would at home, I think this was taught to him)I tried to tell him that he has OCD and he would not believe me but actually got offended, then later proceeded to tell me when he was getting diagnosed they had no idea if he had Aspergers or OCD, they actually had to decide upon it. His whole life he has been told everything he does is because of a disorder and that there isn't anything you can do and that basically that's just the way he is and I don't believe that to be true because he cares about others when he wants to. He only does what he does for attention because he did not get enough at home.

No comments:

Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...