difference between Asperger's and high functioning autism

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shudarsana
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19 Jun 2009, 11:28 pm

Asperger's and high functioning autism are both pervasive developmental disorders, and while they have much in common, the two are distinct entities.

1. A diagnosis of autism requires the presence of a speech delay- Aspies do not and usually speak early. I have yet to meet an Aspie with any motor delays.

2. Autistic children seek out social interaction only when it suits them- Aspies, though they may play alone, will always seek to share enjoyment.

3. Sensory issues in autism are much more severe than in Asperger's.

4. People with HFA require more repetition to learn social information and need more in vivo concrete examples to learn.

5. HFA is a more concrete and literal thought process than Asperger's.

5. HFA can encompass varying levels of intelligence- I have never met an Aspie who does not have above average intelligence.

6. Aspies have a wider range of affect.

7. An Aspie understands personal space while someone with HFA may not.

Basically, Asperger's is a lower level of impairment with a greater ability to adapt. Because of this, Aspies may go undetected while autism may be diagnosed. I just finished reading Pretending to be Normal and what Liane Holliday Willey describes is autism, not Asperger's. Her level of impairment goes far beyond AS- an Aspie would not directly mirror another person's mannerism or have such severe sensory integration issues.


Some myths about Asperger's:

1. Need for routine.
Many Aspies have this, others do not. What Aspies do all seem to have is an appreciation for some sort of order or efficiency.

2. Repetitive focus of interests
Once again, some do, some do not. I have met Aspies who are interested in many different topics.

3. Motor clumsiness/ poor fine motor skills
Probably more Aspies than not are on the clumsy side, but it is not always the case.

4. Inability to understand metaphorical language
While the concrete thought process is there, ability to interpret metaphors and abstract language varies.

5. Good at math
Aspies are extremely logical and have an engineer-type brain- this, however, does not directly correspond to being good at science or math. Numerous writer and artists have been thought to have Asperger's.

6. Lack of interest in fiction/ anything not factual.
True for some but not all.

7. Aspies can only attend to details.
Some Aspies do become bogged down by details and are unable to see the big picture, but many are not. In fact Aspies can be very adept at thinking on a systemic level.

8. Inability to shift focus from tasks, including attending to several discussions at once.
Once again, some, not all.

9. Inability to recognize faces.
Some, not all.

I'm sure there are more- if anyone has any others, please add to my post.



Orwell
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20 Jun 2009, 12:12 am

shudarsana wrote:
Asperger's and high functioning autism are both pervasive developmental disorders, and while they have much in common, the two are distinct entities.

No, there is a largely artificial distinction drawn between them, and even the line drawn at language delay in autism leaves the two clinically indistinguishable by adulthood.

Quote:
1. A diagnosis of autism requires the presence of a speech delay- Aspies do not and usually speak early.

I had a slight speech delay, and spent years in speech therapy overcoming assorted speech impediments, and I am diagnosed with Asperger's.

Quote:
I have yet to meet an Aspie with any motor delays.

Hi, I'm Orwell. Now you have.

Quote:
2. Autistic children seek out social interaction only when it suits them- Aspies, though they may play alone, will always seek to share enjoyment.

Not always- I can be socially withdrawn when it suits me.

Quote:
3. Sensory issues in autism are much more severe than in Asperger's.

Not necessarily. My sensory issues are quite distressing under certain circumstances.

Quote:
4. People with HFA require more repetition to learn social information and need more in vivo concrete examples to learn.

Source?

Quote:
5. HFA is a more concrete and literal thought process than Asperger's.

Source? I'm criticized all the time for being too literal.

Quote:
5. HFA can encompass varying levels of intelligence- I have never met an Aspie who does not have above average intelligence.

HFA by definition consists of autistics with average or above average intelligence- the others are labeled LFA or maybe MFA.

Quote:
6. Aspies have a wider range of affect.

You mean voice intonation? My voice is quite monotone.

Quote:
7. An Aspie understands personal space while someone with HFA may not.

I understand it only in the sense that I do not desire to be excessively close to other people- if I am in their personal space, it follows that they are in my personal space, and I don't like having someone in my personal space.

Quote:
Basically, Asperger's is a lower level of impairment with a greater ability to adapt. Because of this, Aspies may go undetected while autism may be diagnosed. I just finished reading Pretending to be Normal and what Liane Holliday Willey describes is autism, not Asperger's. Her level of impairment goes far beyond AS- an Aspie would not directly mirror another person's mannerism or have such severe sensory integration issues.

You're basically making crap up with no basis. Not only is there no fundamental distinction between AS and HFA, or indeed AS and LFA, there is no sharp line between autistic and non-autistic.


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Woodpecker
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20 Jun 2009, 1:02 am

I have to agree with Orwell that the line between HFA and AS is very hard to draw. I think that the terms HFA, LFA, AS etc etc are man made terms which split up the world of autism for the purposes of classification.

I think that at least three axis will be needed to map out the range of human minds, I think that too little serious research work has been done on this topic but what I would expect is that the autistic community will not be clustered neatly into a few small areas on the graph but instead people will be spread all over the graph. This will then make it impossible to draw the borders around each condition with absolute certainty.


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20 Jun 2009, 3:47 am

I just love how people walks in and say "This is the way it is." Especially when this one only seem to have second hand experience (at best). :lol:

Welcome to Wrongplanet and the world, where things are not black or white. ;)


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Sora
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20 Jun 2009, 5:39 am

shudarsana wrote:
1. A diagnosis of autism requires the presence of a speech delay-


It doesn't, a speech delay is not required.

To meet one criterion of classical autism, communication impairment out of 4 is required and the speech delay is only one of that. There are two other criteria that actually describe how present speech must be impaired and another one that describes impairment of imaginative play.


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poopylungstuffing
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20 Jun 2009, 8:00 am

Quote:
What Aspies do all seem to have is an appreciation for some sort of order or efficiency.


I have a problem with this one...I have had severe disorganization difficulties my entire life....I may appreciate the concept of order and efficiency but I am too dysfunctional to manifest it..and I am prone to making messes...

I guess appreciation is the key word...

Also..I have known some aspies who did not understand personal space...



SteveeVader
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20 Jun 2009, 8:40 am

hmmmm HFA and aspies are more in common than you think, I for one are proobably more HFA aspie as my motor skills are beyond terrible and once I am stressed are just abnobiable also I tend to get locked on things and I only seek out social interaction when I see fit, however if I am passing by even whn in my mind if I notice my best friend or family I will always say hi
THe classification is very hard to clarify



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20 Jun 2009, 8:58 am

Some of the Aspie sounds like me, but I have no idea if I'm HFA or Asperger's. I was severely affected as a little girl and diagnosed autistic at eight. Over the years with a lot of setbacks and work I would be considered dramatically improved to the point of 'high function', but still similar in some ways. I don't know at all what that makes me- Now I just say Dx Asperger's to cut a long story short.



glider18
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20 Jun 2009, 9:57 am

I am with the majority here---I believe it is very hard to distinguish between AS and HFA. When I was diagnosed, the professional told me that he was diagnosing me with AS, although there was a good possibility I could be HFA. He said I could seek a more intense set of testing to determine if I was HFA rather than AS. From my experience and what I understand, there are many overlaps here. I seem to be AS in some areas of the criteria, and HFA in others. And, at times, I even seem more of what we deem "classic autism." Autism is a spectrum, and this "difference" manifests itself many different ways. In a recent lecture I attended on autism, the speaker said, "You've met one person with autism; you've met one person with autism." No two of us autistic people are alike. Although many of us under the spectrum tend to think in "black and white," I believe the spectrum has many grey areas. One cannot assume that AS people, and HFA people, will all have certain traits that distinguish them from others. Autism is such a mystery and difficult area to study because we often have mixtures of traits within the various degrees of autism. While I am an educator of the gifted with a diagnosis of AS, I dislike social interactions because of the awkwardenss, and I dislike most sports because I am not good at the motor skills involved with them. But yet, there is a junior high school boy in the district where I teach who has classic autism---and he loves making friends and playing contact sports. He is currently on the football team, track team, and he plays in the band.


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poopylungstuffing
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20 Jun 2009, 11:45 am

My black and white thinking makes me stumble over generalizations when considering my personal symptoms...even though I know that generalizations don't work.

Every person I have met who is on the spectrum has had their own set of traits...and strengths and weaknesses in regards to levels of functioning...



buryuntime
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20 Jun 2009, 1:38 pm

I think there is a diff between HFA and asperger's syndrome in early childhood. I don't think there is that much of a difference at older ages.

Quote:
1. A diagnosis of autism requires the presence of a speech delay- Aspies do not and usually speak early. I have yet to meet an Aspie with any motor delays.

2. Autistic children seek out social interaction only when it suits them- Aspies, though they may play alone, will always seek to share enjoyment.

Not true.
Quote:
3. Sensory issues in autism are much more severe than in Asperger's.

mine are the same if not worse than my HFA sister...

Quote:
5. HFA can encompass varying levels of intelligence- I have never met an Aspie who does not have above average intelligence.

i don't have above average intelligence...

Quote:
7. An Aspie understands personal space while someone with HFA may not.

I've seen posts on parent's forum where AS kids do not understand or have trouble with personal space...

perhaps your first list should be labeled MYTHS instead.



shudarsana
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20 Jun 2009, 8:39 pm

I'm not understanding why people are viewing my post as being a value judgement. Asperger's and autism are neurobiological medical conditions and have been recognized as different by the American Psychological Association since 1994. No one would be having a fit if I were discussing different features of similar immune disorders. There is a distinct difference between the two though they share many traits. The people who argue with my points are referring to people with HFA who have been misdiagnosed with Asperger's. Professionals often misdiagnose HFA as Asperger's because there is a disbelief that an autistic person could be so high functioning, especially if they have advanced verbal skills. Whether an Aspie or person with HFA is more functional has more to do with learning to adapt than the underlying disorder, but the truth of the matter is that autism necessitates a higher level of underlying symptomology. I currently have clients with both Asperger's and autism- the two require subtle difference in treatment because the thought process is similar but still requires a more nuanced understanding of the disorders. The problem is that much of the literature available is skewed, with people like Liane Holliday Willey claiming they have Asperger's. Many of my points are supported in a book entitled Understanding Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism.



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20 Jun 2009, 8:51 pm

^ I am diagnosed with an ASD -- the 'type" known as AS. I have the kind of sensory integration issues that are more often seen in the "type" known as autism. My division into "types' is somewhat facetious here!

ASD's are in fact a continuum with individualised and varying presentations.
The OP's black and white distinctions are quite out of keeping with current shifts that are taking place within the autism research and classifications paradigm.

Welcome to WP.
To the OP: We can a learn a lot about shades of grey if we are open to other views and perspectives.
:)


THE BIG A. A is for autism.



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20 Jun 2009, 9:03 pm

Quote:
7. An Aspie understands personal space while someone with HFA may not.


I'm with the others when I say that I have no idea what personal space means. There's actually a word for the study of this, called proxemics. I had to do a lesson involving reading comprehension where proxemics was the topic.

I still can't do the personal space thing. Then again, I'm not sure if I'm an aspie or HFA.

Edit: By the way: Autism is a spectrum. Google spectrum images, and then consider this: How much of that spectrum is blue, and how much is green?


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20 Jun 2009, 9:26 pm

Rain Man = HFA (or AS if you don't like noting the small differences)
Mr Bean to Sherlock Holmes = AS

Simple as that. :lol: