Aspergers: Different Levels of Severity


As I read articles about Aspergers, I have to question if there are different levels of Aspergers? My son does not have extreme behavior however I also have to ask if some of the behavior training I have drilled into him is showing more now as he ages. Some of the stories that I read seem extreme. I can think of extreme behaviors that he has displayed and lack of reasoning skills that he has shown, social issues, but still I wonder if he was dx incorrectly or am I just grasping at straws?


Health care providers think of autism as a “spectrum” disorder, a group of disorders with similar features. One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms. But they both have an autism spectrum disorder. Different kids with an autism spectrum disorder can have very different symptoms.

Aspergers (high-functioning autism) can range from mild to severe. A child might have a few traits of Aspergers, or might have a large number of traits, and each of these traits can range from mild to severe. So, some children with Aspergers have only minor difficulties functioning in society while others need someone to help with most aspects of life.

Some children have all of the criteria for Aspergers that are quite severe and very noticeable, and others may not get diagnosed until they are a teenager (or even later) because they were thought of as just being shy or eccentric. Some adults with Aspergers can't get a job, can't live on their own, can't drive, have major marriage problems, and have very few friends. Others are married and have children, hold down employment, can drive, and have plenty of friends (but still have the social problems and obsessive interests/routines that are part of the disorder).

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


•    Anonymous said… Everyone is different and has a different set of circumstances. Consider yourself lucky if your kid doesn't rage. I know my daughters rages are not just because of Aspergers, unfortunately the split between me and her dad has affected her negatively. Sometimes I think some of her rages stim from that and lack of control. She is a major control freak......
•    Anonymous said… I have 2 boys with it, 1 with the extreme rage and 1 not. Totally different behaviours and aspects of it. I beleive the younger 1 is because we didn't know what was going on with the older 1 and at the time we were told this is what we were looking at the youngest had started showing the smae traits. So the younger 1 had earlier intervention and help than the older 1.
•    Anonymous said… Many adults have Aspergers and they don't know it. And you would never know it. Its not about being "extreme".
•    Anonymous said… My 13 year old Aspie daughter doesnt get on at school,can hardly get her 2 go.She sits in her room,she used 2 go 2 judo twice a week but now doesnt go.Her anxiety is thru the roof alot of days.Ive tried 2 get her the help but mental health say she has 2 be 14 before certain organisations step in.
•    Anonymous said… My 9 year old aspie does not have any rage - he has infrequent meltdowns or gets overly rigid & emotional - but no rage. Every aspie, autistic, autism spectrum, sensory child - every child is different & unique.
•    Anonymous said… My son has definitely changed in his teens. He used to be crazy and funny (when he wasn't melting down or angry). Now he is super quiet and shuts down a lot. Closed off. He won't leave the house at all except for school. The social anxiety is more extreme.
•    Anonymous said… This article reminds me so much of my thoughts! It gets so tricky-! There are 3 kids one of which is a cousin that my son can make that connection with everyone else is like back ground noise to him- as if there not in his picture - just there- he operates in same room but not connecting- however while one on one play date s he thrives!! Leaving me thinking-- did they get this right! Could it be wrong! But then we go out to the world such as a Drs appt and I see his body language and demeanor- he can't stand to even be in same lobby with others of its close quarters- he will even take his blanket and cocoon hisself with it-- then it's like yep! They got it right! And also going into the classroom to just observe is so telling!! So so telling! He's in his world  🌎-- and will allow the one kid in-- I think tony Atwood's book- Guide to Asperger is best read I have found!! It's like a blue book to my son! I think they should mandatory every therapist, that is going to be giving therapy to these kids to read it 3 x!!! Lol!!! Then let's have a session!! I am so worried about his teen age years-- that will be the crucial part! Keeping him going to school , trying to interact will be so important-! This year it almost got to point of home school- I'm so glad we pushed through because he is so happy there now! He is still who he is but it's as if the others kids have accepted him but not only accepted it they help him! It was Beautiful how I saw them helping him! Wish I had it on video to share !! Kids can be just awesome!  ❤

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Maggie Petts said...

Facinating. My 11yr old son, also an identical twin, diagnosed last year with 'traits of' Aspergers. His brother, although alledgedly just as likeley to have AS, seems to only have traits of traits! I would be very interested to hear any comments you may have on Twins and AS.Amazing the difference between all Aspies!

Anonymous said...

I have a 5 1/2 year old son that was diagnosed with "mild pdd/aspbergers disorder". I have been trying to collect as much information about this disorder as i can in order to learn "useful" parenting techniques. I have some questions as to "why"? my son has difficulty with the following..

1.) picking out clothes for school in the morning. I give him three choices and allow him to choose. I have spent hundreds of dollars on clothes for him and he insists on wearing sweat pants everyday. On occasion, he may wear cargo pants. But, i don't push it. He also insists on wearing certain shirts. I am stumped as to why a 5 1/2 year old boy is so concerned with his wardrobe?

2.) He doesn' like to change routine suddenly. I have to ease him into it.

3.) He may have a meltdown if he looses a video game. I take him immediately off the computer and explain to him that he cannot play if he does not control his temper. The meltdown lasts anywhere from 2-5 minutes. He winds up apologizing for his behavior and asks to resume the game.

My question to the above is am i doing the right thing? I feel lost not knowing how to parent my child effectively. I have two other children that are older 11 and 7 and they have difficulty understanding his meltdowns as well.

Unknown said...

my step son has the same melt downs with video games, tv, computer etc when it is taken away... he is 12 and very high functioning... I am not an expert, however I see nothing wrong in what you are doing... I have been doing a lot of research myself, as he was just diagnosed 8 months ago. I believe that he still needs to learn just like anyother child, with a few modifications , which you have done... giving him time out to realize his behavior is inappropriate is very important... however he must realize that every negative action has a consequence... I think you are doing great!

Anonymous said...


Your 5 1/2 year old son will benefit from occupational therapy for Sensory Integration Disorder. Sensory Integration Disorder is common in kids with Aspergers. Wearing soft clothing such as sweat pants is a classic symptom. Your son will cope much better when receiving treatment. It will increase his ability to cope with other frustrations throughout his day as well.
Also, video games light up the same region in the brain as Cocaine. It can be too much stimuli. Most video games are too frustrating for young children to cope with.
A psychotherapist

andrea said...

I have a 8yr old with asperger she was diagnosed when she was4 over all she has come a long way with the help of neurofeedback but the one thing that gets worse every year is changing her clothes we are down to 1skirt 1dress and1 shirt she has melt downs when we even suggest changing her clothes she wants to dress cute but can't i breaks my heart when she see other girls dress cute and she can't she will cry in the dressing room when we try on clothes what can i do

Laurel said...

My stepson was just diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 12. I have wondered at the levels of severity that exist within the disorder because it had never occurred to me that he has aspergers. My stepson has had a strong interest in legos since the age of 4. He loves anything to do with contruction or mechanics and tends to be absorbed in these things over anything else. He does want friends but over the last few years, kids have stopped calling or stopping to play. During family parties, he isolates himself and does not play with the cousins. When he does play, inevitably the other kids get upset with him for doing something mean or inappropriate or trying to control the play. He is EXTREMELY bossy to the point that his teachers have called us about him telling her what/how to do things. Almost weekly, he gets into trouble in school for interrupting in class, bossing others, and just not interacting well with the other kids. He does great alone with a teacher, such as at lunch-detention. He only has meltdowns when he is reprimanded and loses his legos or video game time. He is neat & organized, has meticulous handwriting and likes to draw sometimes and his artwork looks like it was traced because the lines are so bold, straight and neat. He is particularly possessive of his belongings and space and will yell if his siblings use his stuff or play too close to him & his legos. The things is, though, he laughs readily and constantly makes jokes. I frequently don't get his jokes or don't see the humor, though. He is very independent and goes through spurts with friends and does fair in school even though we have to check his planner and keep in touch with his teachers constantly. Alone with an adult he seems so mature, but with kids he seems so immature. He often thinks that pranks that upset others are very funny and does not understand why the person at the brunt of the prank is upset. He does have a tendency to violate rules and always has a logic behind his reasons. They tend to make sense, too, but he always misses the point that he should address it with an adult first. He often comes across rude because he can be very blunt, ignoring the unspoken social protocols of 'delivery' or just unempathetic. On the flipside, he can be very animated. We've thought for years he was mildly defiant, angry that he can't live with his mother, and unempathetic to his siblings because of having to share his dad with them. We thought this anger & defiance was what kept him from bonding well with me despite the fact that I have been his primary care giver for 5 years. He has been in therapy off & on for the past 5 years and despite this or our reasoning with him and reprimands, he has not changed his behavior. Does this sound like aspergers or something else?

scba3102 said...

I know it's a year on since you posted your blog, but I've only just read it and had to reply...
your step-son sounds just like my son to a T (a capital T)!! I think Aspergers is a beautiful thing. All of these differences can be hard for us, but they are what make these children/people special. We just need to allow them to feel happy in who they are while trying to teach them some social skills along the way. Because they lack the social cognition that we take for granted, I find my son needs to 'learn' rules about certain situations, although no situation is ever the same, and the teaching is on-going. My son is a beautiful boy (16 now), who has a gorgeous sense of humour (the best laugh and giggle) and talks in bucket-loads when he's happy and has some interesting facts he needs to keep telling me about (over & over again). He doesn't talk much otherwise. He is oblivious to social cues, ridicule and others' feelings but that's ok - there's good and bad in that. He tells me straight out what he thinks about my clothes or weight and I love his honesty. He is constantly looking at my face to gauge the situation, whether it's a tv show we are watching or driving in the car (this is the part I find hardest to take) because I want him to think for himself and it is un-nerving being watched all the time. He has such simple, childlike qualities that are both endearing and annoying because at 16 (nearly 17)I naturally have other expectations in regards to maturity and development. Our 14 year old daughter has always been like a big sister to him and it won't be long before his 3-yr old brother out-grows him in many ways. All I know, is that he is a happy, loving (of his animals anyway) and intelligent person who needs to be understood and allowed to be who he is. It's hard being in public where other people will come to their own conclusions about a child's behaviour, I know, but do they really matter? They don't know your child, you do. Love them and support them, and laugh at their jokes and help them get the acceptance they need so they can share their special differences and enrich others lives as well. I just love to see parents loving their children for who they are, forget the stereotype and what other people think, each child is different so embrace it. Find the positives and you will be rewarded. My son's has 2 main obsessions; drawing and golf, the latter has overtaken the first one now he is older. My husband also has A.S. so Golf is our life (notice the capital 'g'). Our current issue is that he now needs to get a job to support his obsession for 2 reasons; this is his final year of school and we can't afford to keep this up. He is independent in most ways, but the social interaction required to get a job is the concern obviously and lack of interest in anything but golf is another. So, our journey continues, at least his obsession is a healthy one! Best wishes everyone.

Unknown said...

I am an OTA and have been working w children on the spectrum for many years. All of what you each have been saying is true, and more. Often ADHD, OCD, etc accompany the diagnosis and confuse which way to treat the signs and symptoms. Keep your feet, be loving, smiling but clear and firm, reteach tings that are quirky to the best degree that you can, especially social engagement. There are many great websites online. But INFORM yourself, please! and be strong, though it's exhausting I can imagine!Aspies can often follow a script so they can relearn responses to various situations. And use humor whenever you can, for them and for yourself!

Jkc16 said...

My name is Jemma. I'm 15 and have been diagnosed with severe aspergers. I struggle with all of these things that you have listed.
My advice for :
1) = have a day or simply an afternoon where you two can spend sometime just saying with items of clothing you like the best. Don't make him try anything on just sit down and say 'I like that' or 'I'm not too keen on that but I'll keep it'. Just statements like this. Then, when school mornings come, pick out two outfits; one that he said he liked that day, and one that he said he didn't. Say that he has to choose between those two. If this works, make it a routine, same time every morning, same attitude, same rules, just different outfits.
I tried this with my sister and it really helped me.
2)= the only thing I can suggest is just don't change the routine. Set one now that works for the whole family and slowly enforce that as a new one. Do not force him to accept it. My mum tried to push me and I lost control. It felt like I had nothing. That everything was wrong, it was changed, what I could depend on was gone. It's a horrible feeling to experience so please please be as slow as possible.
3)= everybody is hard on themselves but anyone with any type of autism takes it a lot worse.
I used to rip up every last shred on my homework if a letter was bolder than the others or if there was a double letter in a word and they weren't the same. There is no way to change this in sorry say. All you can do for him is to support him. Don't shut him down what ever you do. Do not say stuff like ' no, that was great' or 'don't be silly' or 'try harder next time'. Say something like 'OK well I saw you turned too much to the right at ^stage of game^ so how about you try that but again and we'll see if we can do better'. Accept he hates his failure and accept it with him. Find an angle that will work to show him that there's something he can change. Show him that he can be in control.

I really really hope this helps.
All the best

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