Difference between High Functioning Autism and Aspergers?

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ebec11
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13 Nov 2012, 3:29 am

Do you believe that there a noticeable difference between High Functioning Autism and Aspergers? I'll list my opinion after a few people have posted, as not to bring any bias to the conversation :)



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13 Nov 2012, 3:47 am

Not sure if there really is a difference really I have been diagnosed with both growing up. :shrug:


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13 Nov 2012, 3:56 am

High functioning autism is a more general term.



Guineapigged
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13 Nov 2012, 4:08 am

I always thought the difference was that with HFA there's a speech delay, whereas in AS speech develops on time.



Chris71
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13 Nov 2012, 5:13 am

Guineapigged wrote:
I always thought the difference was that with HFA there's a speech delay, whereas in AS speech develops on time.

That's what I thought too. Although I've never heard anyone explain what is the difference in the eventual outcomes of the conditions though.



TPE2
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13 Nov 2012, 7:03 am

Guineapigged wrote:
I always thought the difference was that with HFA there's a speech delay, whereas in AS speech develops on time.


The problem is that there is nothing in the definition of HFA (or, more exactly, in the definition of autism - HFA has not a formal definition) requiring a speech delay.



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13 Nov 2012, 7:19 am

It seems that the only difference in which is diagnosed is the presence of speech delay, but that there is no noticeable difference in the symptoms where older children and adults are concerned, which makes having two separate diagnoses redundant. That is why they are being merged into a single diagnosis (HFA) in the next DSM - the medical establishment seems to have come to the conclusion that there's no useful distinction between them.



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13 Nov 2012, 8:36 am

The main differences between AS and HFA are these:
-People with Asperger's USUALLY (not always) don't have speech delay, while people with HFA will probably have them;
-HFA is easier to spot and to diagnose;
-Psychiatry tends to consider Asperger's as milder than HFA.


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13 Nov 2012, 8:40 am

i will try to answer in an indirect way.

i was diagnosed as LFA (low functioning autistic) when i was a baby, and that diagnosis was refined to MFA (medium functioning autistic) when i was about 4, and then i was reclassified as HFA when i was 9. at the age of 12, my psychiatrist said that i was VHFA or "very high functioning autistic", and she also told me that a new classification called "asperger's autistic syndrome" was being researched for future inclusion into the DSM, and that she believed that i would be diagnosable with AS if it were an available classification at the time.

the reasoning behind my incremental re-classifications were:

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LFA:
when i was a baby i had no muscle tone, and i did not conform my posture to the arms of people who tried to hold me, and i often fell through their arms to the floor. it was a reciprocal effort i could not perceive that was necessary for me to perform i was told.

i was not able to have my attention distracted from what i was interested in at the time, which were usually flies buzzing around trying to fly outside through the windows, if i was on my back, and if i was on my stomach, i looked at the carpet and found much fascination with it (i was told and also i vaguely remember that time).

people who tried to make me smile were unsuccessful in all circumstances, and i did not respond in any way to anyone's attempts to communicate with me.
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MFA:
i finally decided i had to speak to people because i did not have their undivided attention anymore since i was no longer a helpless baby, and my parents and teachers were very surprised because i went from never saying a word, to talking in complete sentences in a matter of days.
the content of my communication however was purely one sided, and i did not care to hear their sentences. i just wanted them to say "yes". i did not communicate what i saw. i communicated what i wanted to be given.

so, while the severity of my autism was reconsidered in a favorable light, i was still consigned to MFA (a term which i can not find references to on the internet for some reason) because of the content of my communication, and my inability to reciprocate or even incorporate their words into my sensorium.

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HFA.
i became interested in some other peoples ideas (about my ideas (unfortunately i was not free yet)), and it was realized that i was somewhat able to process other peoples words whilst remaining silent in my own thoughts as i listened.
the fact that i could receive verbal information that was not a direct response to a question i asked made my "evaluators" reclassify me as HFA.
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AS
i was diagnosed in 1996 as a result of a drink driving conviction. whatever.
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there are 2 factors that intermingle to produce a result which is seen as "severity of functionality deficits" (disregarding personality phenotypes) .
they are..
1. the true autistic severity, and
2. the intelligence level.

a person who is severely afflicted with autism and who also has a very powerful mind (high intelligence) will seem similar in functionality to a person with almost unnoticeable autism and a very average intelligence.

there are people who have only a tincture of autism who have average minds and are less successful than people who have more severe autism (divorcement from the heartbeat of humanity) and who also have higher intelligence.

functionality means (to me) an "ability to steward one's self through life without failure due to incapacity"

i think that the difference between HFA and AS can not be resolved because a more autistic person with a better brain can not be directly compared to a less autistic person with a lesser brain even though they may seem superficially similar.

on the other hand, there are LFA's who have severe mental retardation and they have no hope at all, and similarly, there are non autistic people who have profound mental retardation, and they similarly have no hope to live a rich life.



who knows?
edit: i had to remove a redundant sentence



Last edited by b9 on 13 Nov 2012, 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

littlelily613
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13 Nov 2012, 8:51 am

HFA is not a diagnostic term. Sometimes people use it to refer to high-functioning classical autism, in which case, there would be a speech delay involved. Some use it interchangeably with all high-functioning individuals on the spectrum, in which case, AS could also mean HFA. Depends on who's saying it I guess.


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13 Nov 2012, 12:47 pm

Quote:
on the other hand, there are LFA's who have severe mental retardation and they have no hope at all, and similarly, there are non autistic people who have profound mental retardation, and they similarly have no hope to live a rich life.


I disagree.

You do not need a certain cognitive level to have a rich and fulfilling life. It may not take the same form as an NT life, but that does not make that life any less enjoyable or fulfilling for that individual. What matters is that the person is loved and accepted, and given the support to achieve what they feel is important, and that can be provided for any cognitive level.



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13 Nov 2012, 1:03 pm

I always thought it was to do with self-awareness levels, but I might be wrong as usual.

I have a friend who is my age but was diagnosed as moderate but high-functioning Autism when he was a child, and I was diagnosed with mild AS when I was a child, and it sums up about right. I have more instinct knowledge of social cues than he does; I can read body language and other non-verbal things, and I can appear normal to people whether it's strangers or not, and I am also average with expressing my thoughts and feelings. My friend fails to read body language and seems rather oblivious, he also has issues expressing his thoughts and feelings and always talks in such a monotone voice, and he flaps his hands a lot in public, so his condition looks more noticeable.

But he still functions well, he has a part-time job and does things for himself, and he does talk normal (no speech delays). He also has above average intellegence, where as I have around average intellegence (maybe a little below). But I'm just saying this from my own personal experience, I've never met anyone else with high-functioning Autism before. I've met others with mild AS (including people on the telly) and they seem a bit like me; their condition is very unnoticeable when having one-to-one conversation or just walking along the street or whatever.


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13 Nov 2012, 2:58 pm

I think that there are noticeable differences in childhood and adulthood.

In childhood, the differences are verry merry berry obvious. I have classic autism, and I did not act like a child with AS when I was a child. My social and communication deficits were severe, and my language was severely lacking. I was eggstremely rigid in eberrything I did, and my activities were highly restricted and repetitive. Overall, I had more severe autism. I was in my own world in a more unreachable way. Eberryone had to adjust to me in eberrything, because I was not capable of adjusting myself in any way at any time. I was not aware that there was anything for me to adjust to.

As an adult, I am HFA, and you would not be able to tell that I was not high-functioning or verbal in childhood, but there are still noticeable differences between myself and most adults with AS, adults who acted like children with AS when they were children. The differences are less noticeable in adulthood, but they don't disappear completely. In my autism support group, there are people with AS who are verbally fluent and socially engaged with each other, and there is me, who is less verbally fluent and less socially engaged, and there is another guy who is probably HFA too, but he is less verbally fluent than I am, and he is not socially engaged either, and he is not as spontaneously or flexibly communicative as I am, but he does not look as socially inattentive as I look, and he does not stim as much as I do. No one in the group stims as much as I do.

I also think that due to the differences during childhood development, I know much less social stuff and think in a much less social way than most people with AS, regardless of overall eberryday functioning. I am always surprised at all the social stuff that many people on WP know so much about, but I figure that ignoring people for most of my childhood probably did not help in my development of any kind of social cognition, and I will probably not be catching up evar. I really have no social brain or social instincts or social insights like other autistic people seem to have, but I think that I am purrrty high in overall eberryday functioning. My main problems are sensory and verbal. I can make up for a lot of my verbal weaknesses using my non-verbal strengths, and my eggsecutive function is good. For sensory issues, I really need accommodations. I don't have many social issues, because I don't care about social things.



Last edited by btbnnyr on 13 Nov 2012, 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sbarne3
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13 Nov 2012, 3:12 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I always thought it was to do with self-awareness levels, but I might be wrong as usual.

I have a friend who is my age but was diagnosed as moderate but high-functioning Autism when he was a child, and I was diagnosed with mild AS when I was a child, and it sums up about right. I have more instinct knowledge of social cues than he does; I can read body language and other non-verbal things, and I can appear normal to people whether it's strangers or not, and I am also average with expressing my thoughts and feelings. My friend fails to read body language and seems rather oblivious, he also has issues expressing his thoughts and feelings and always talks in such a monotone voice, and he flaps his hands a lot in public, so his condition looks more noticeable.

But he still functions well, he has a part-time job and does things for himself, and he does talk normal (no speech delays). He also has above average intellegence, where as I have around average intellegence (maybe a little below). But I'm just saying this from my own personal experience, I've never met anyone else with high-functioning Autism before. I've met others with mild AS (including people on the telly) and they seem a bit like me; their condition is very unnoticeable when having one-to-one conversation or just walking along the street or whatever.

My own experience is exactly like this... I am 34 years old and have mild AS and most people can't tell... they just think I am quiet and maybe a little weird at times.
My cousin on the other hand (he's 26) has HFA and people can tell pretty quickly that something isn't quite right with him. It's his speech patterns, his body language, and his child-like emotional responses
He also has difficulty relating to things outside of his special interests (mainly video games).
I attend a support group for adults on the spectrum and we have a mixture of both AS and HFA in the group and you can tell a definite difference.
The leader of our group (who is a parent of a child with autism) says that the difference is that a child with severe autism could progress to HFA (as demonstrated in her own child), but would never reach the level of AS.



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13 Nov 2012, 3:28 pm

I want to emphasize that my view on HFA is fully personal and based on my own feelings.

I did learn to talk, at times in an overly and interrupting manner. :lol: So you could say that my output is definitely “AS” or above. I also act my part well in public (meaning mainly at work) and the sensory issues are nowadays quite mild compared to many here.

There is still a certain persistent autistic quality in my whole being that despite the superficial level learned holds me firmly and leads my lonely way. The classic features of my autism are mainly hidden from the outside observer behind the enormous effort I put into my public being at work. Despite having better understanding in social domain than most people with HFA or even AS, I have some classical features and it takes huge amount of my overall energy and intellectual power to hide them. These features are somewhat debilitating, even though the feeling is somewhat ambivalent. I enjoy being in that world as much as I feel it’s my prison. At the end it is who I am and how being is to me.

Outside the hiding frame I spend most of my waking hours stimming and around the same, repetitive actions and routines. I spend several hours every day just swaying my body and flapping while completely absorbed in the music. I might be engrossed in the shadows or engage in other activity similar – with music even nicer. I also often end up in the “dropping zone” as I call it - doing empty staring (also euphemistically called hyperfocus :lol: ). Generally I feel like living in some sort of hazy separate dream like state. This part of my autism hasn’t changed a bit. The feeling and the amount of empty and excessive stimming activities is the same as it was when I was e.g. 12.

I would need help in some areas of my life, but I don’t want any social workers or any specialists of any kind interfering with my life. I guess I am autistic in that sense too.:lol:

I recognize a lot in AS, but I also identify more easily with some autistic people. I think that this in some people with autism might lead to the only thing I am worried in this new diagnostic change. Now and even more so in the future the most people calling themselves autistic actually have AS or should I say the AS-type autism. Nothing wrong with that and I agree, but it might lead in the beginning to confusion and low self-esteem among those not being able to do or have the same stuff as other people with autism.

I think we all autistists (the ones with AS too) live between two worlds in a way. Or between all of the worlds possible, I'd say. :)