Aspergers versus Autism: What’s the Difference?

Question

I'm not sure I understand the difference between Aspergers and Autism. What exactly is the difference?

Answer

The lines are sometimes blurred when it comes to the similarities and differences between Aspergers and autism. While both are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), and while there are similarities that can be noted in autism and Aspergers, there are some significant differences too.

Similarities between Autism and Aspergers—

• both have trouble maintaining age appropriate relationships

• both suffer from poor communication skills

• children with autism and Aspergers alike may develop obsessions to a specific subject of interest

• hyper or hyposensitivity to pain and touch is common in both disorders

• poor eye contact is exhibited by both populations

• problems with gross and fine motor skills can be noted in both groups

• resistance to a change in routine is commonly found in both Aspergers and autism

Differences between Autism and Aspergers—

• Aspergers is usually detected later in a child’s life than autism

• autistic people typically are to some degree oblivious to the need for social interactions

• children with Aspergers express a desire to fit in socially, whereas autistic kids gravitate toward complete exclusion and seclusion

• in autism, the person’s IQ is usually below average, and communication delays are always present

• many autistic children are very late at developing verbal language (some are nonverbal)

• normal to above average intelligence and language development is common in children with Aspergers

• problems with depression are much more common with people who have Aspergers than in those with autism

• the average age for the diagnosis of Aspergers is 6 to 11, while Autism is usually diagnosed around or before the age of 3

• those with Aspergers tend to know that they have social challenges and sometimes suffer anxiety and depression related to these problems

• verbal IQ is higher than the performance IQ in Aspergers

• with Aspergers, even though speech is sometimes repetitive, the grammar is usually very good

• young children with Aspergers reach most developmental milestones within a typical time frame

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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