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Old 07-10-2007, 08:57 PM   #1
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What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Hi again,
I was wondering what the difference between Autism and Aspergers Syndrome is. I've heard of AS but not sure what it is. Is AS worse than Autism? Just curious.

 
Old 07-11-2007, 06:38 AM   #2
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Differences exist primarily in the degree of impairment. For example, while an individual with autism may experience a delay in, or total lack of speech, an individual with Asperger's can not possess a "clinically significant general delay" in language. An individual with Asperger's may however, experience difficulty in understanding spoken language - particularly in terms of irony, humor, or other abstractions.

A second distinction made concerns cognitive ability. While some individuals with autism experience mental retardation, by definition a person with Asperger's can not possess a "clinically significant" cognitive delay. This is not to imply that all individuals with autism also have mental retardation. Some do and some do not, but a person with Asperger's possesses an average to above average intelligence.

 
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Old 07-11-2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Children with Autism generally have huge language delays, a lot of them donít use the words they do know how to say to communicate appropriately. They normally are diagnosed with Autism around 2 or 3 years of age, because their condition is that obvious.

Aspergerís Children on the other hand normally are not diagnosed until 2nd and 3rd grade. They have sensory issues, but they are normally mistaken as bad behavior, because they normally can understand and communicate with their peers at normal age level. Typically they can be outcast, for they know how to communicate but do not have the same desirer to socialize like normal children.

All of the above is called the Autism Spectrum, because there so many different ranges of abilities and disabilities. These kids or Adults can be so much a like in certain areas but have their own set of problems. Being in a classroom k-2nd grade of mostly Autistic children. They all show similar characteristics of Autism, but yet are so different in what they can do. It is very interesting.

 
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:37 PM   #4
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Asperger's is usually considered to be the highest-functioning form of autism on the spectrum. (However, I would argue that PDD-NOS is.) There is a lot of controversy over whether Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are the same thing and if Asperger's is really autism at all (or a form of nonverbal learning disability, NLD). The definition that I use to distinguish between Asperger's and HFA is one that I read from a book about the two. It said that there cannot be a speech delay for it to be Asperger's; if there is a speech delay, it's HFA. Children with HFA eventually become the verbose "little professors" that define Aspie children. They go from not speaking to droning monologues within a few months. Aspies just talk incessantly from the beginning.

Other than that, there really isn't any difference between the two. If you were to interact with a school-age kid with HFA, you couldn't tell if he/she was HFA or an Aspie. I do think that there should be a distinction between the two, though, because there obviously is SOME difference, neurologically speaking, to enable some children to talk on time (and many Aspies, myself included, began talking very, very early) and other children to be delayed in their acquisition of speech. The only other potential difference (studies have not concluded this, yet) between the two is from IQ scores. Individuals with HFA tend to have higher Performance IQs than Verbal IQs (as do lower-functioning autistic individuals), whereas people with Asperger's tend to show the opposite trend (higher VIQs than PIQs). This also adds to the fact that Asperger's is a form of NLD, because the defining criterion to diagnose NLD is having a VIQ that is significantly higher (about 15-20 points or more) than one's PIQ. (I have long believed that I would qualify for an additional diagnosis of NLD, and from the results of an IQ test that I took this past fall, the discrepancy between my PIQ and my VIQ pretty much confirms it.)

Anyway, it is sometimes hard to tell that a person has Asperger's. They may just simply come across as eccentric, "weird," or geeky. People who don't know me well are hard-pressed to find symptoms. They simply just think I'm quirky. I can hide my symptoms very well around people that I don't know well. But, as time goes on and I know them better, I start to "unravel," so to speak, and the signs become blatant. However, other Aspies and people who know what to look for (i.e., doctors/professionals and those who have a loved one or friend on the spectrum) can detect me right away. It's often said that Asperger's is sometimes harder than Kanner's (low-functioning) autism because it's "invisible." Symptoms are passed off as idiosyncracies and/or "bad," mischievous behavior, rather than "autism." The stereotypical signs of autism that people always hear about (such as hand flapping and repetitive spinning of objects) isn't often seen in Asperger's. Somebody who gives regular monologues about the thermodynamics of cellular respiration isn't often thought of to be "autistic." Hope this helped, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:02 AM   #5
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

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Originally Posted by GatsbyLuvr1920 View Post
Asperger's is usually considered to be the highest-functioning form of autism on the spectrum. (However, I would argue that PDD-NOS is.) There is a lot of controversy over whether Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are the same thing and if Asperger's is really autism at all (or a form of nonverbal learning disability, NLD). The definition that I use to distinguish between Asperger's and HFA is one that I read from a book about the two. It said that there cannot be a speech delay for it to be Asperger's; if there is a speech delay, it's HFA. Children with HFA eventually become the verbose "little professors" that define Aspie children. They go from not speaking to droning monologues within a few months. Aspies just talk incessantly from the beginning.

Other than that, there really isn't any difference between the two. If you were to interact with a school-age kid with HFA, you couldn't tell if he/she was HFA or an Aspie. I do think that there should be a distinction between the two, though, because there obviously is SOME difference, neurologically speaking, to enable some children to talk on time (and many Aspies, myself included, began talking very, very early) and other children to be delayed in their acquisition of speech. The only other potential difference (studies have not concluded this, yet) between the two is from IQ scores. Individuals with HFA tend to have higher Performance IQs than Verbal IQs (as do lower-functioning autistic individuals), whereas people with Asperger's tend to show the opposite trend (higher VIQs than PIQs). This also adds to the fact that Asperger's is a form of NLD, because the defining criterion to diagnose NLD is having a VIQ that is significantly higher (about 15-20 points or more) than one's PIQ. (I have long believed that I would qualify for an additional diagnosis of NLD, and from the results of an IQ test that I took this past fall, the discrepancy between my PIQ and my VIQ pretty much confirms it.)

Anyway, it is sometimes hard to tell that a person has Asperger's. They may just simply come across as eccentric, "weird," or geeky. People who don't know me well are hard-pressed to find symptoms. They simply just think I'm quirky. I can hide my symptoms very well around people that I don't know well. But, as time goes on and I know them better, I start to "unravel," so to speak, and the signs become blatant. However, other Aspies and people who know what to look for (i.e., doctors/professionals and those who have a loved one or friend on the spectrum) can detect me right away. It's often said that Asperger's is sometimes harder than Kanner's (low-functioning) autism because it's "invisible." Symptoms are passed off as idiosyncracies and/or "bad," mischievous behavior, rather than "autism." The stereotypical signs of autism that people always hear about (such as hand flapping and repetitive spinning of objects) isn't often seen in Asperger's. Somebody who gives regular monologues about the thermodynamics of cellular respiration isn't often thought of to be "autistic." Hope this helped, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
-GatsbyLuvr1920-
That leads me to ask a question. What distiguishes high functioning from low functioning? My son was said to be "slightly", but, he has this language delay? Am I just being told that to soothe me? I just don't seem to get answers from the "professionals". I guess that noone can tell me if he will ever talk "normally" or be able to function on his own. The "right now" is so confusing.
Lisa

 
Old 07-12-2007, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

The main difference between high-functioning and low functioning autism is IQ scores. For example, one cannot be diagnosed with Asperger's unless Full Scale IQ is above 80. (Mental retardation is defined as a Full Scale IQ of 70 or less.) Usually, those who are considered "high-functioning" have IQs greater than or equal to 80 and low-functioning individuals have IQs less than 80. Also, the severity of symptoms is much greater in low-functioning autism and high-functioning individuals are usually fluent in language (and the low-functioning individuals are often nonverbal).
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 07-12-2007 at 03:06 PM.

 
Old 07-12-2007, 08:26 PM   #7
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Self-care skills are another big issue between HFA/LFA. If those are appreciably delayed, along with a low IQ... But the IQ can be low because it's simply hard to test a child with a language delay, and not because of mental retardation.

 
Old 07-14-2007, 09:28 PM   #8
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Thank you for all your replies. I am starting to wonder if my son has AS instead of Autism. He was never delayed in his speech and will talk non stop from the time he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed. Alot of the time though he is talking to himself and gets upset if you ask him what he is talking about. Is this also a symptom of AS or Autism? I am not all that educated on this subject. He was not diagnosed until he was between 1st and 2nd grade, although he was diagnosed with SID at 4, (sensory Integration Dysfunction). Now I am even more confused than ever. The Dr. told us he was high functioning Autistic. His IQ was 69. Who can I talk to to clear this up? Does anybody know? Again thank you for all your replies.

 
Old 07-15-2007, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

Currently, he would not garner a diagnosis of Asperger's because his IQ is not greater than or equal to 80. Since he is fluent in speech, though, he would most likely be classified as HFA. Yes, talking to oneself is very, very common in individuals on the spectrum. I talk to myself practically all of the time. I don't even realize I'm doing it half of the time. I am my own best friend. Thus, I want to talk to me. Some people think that talking to oneself is a stim of sorts. I tend to agree. I do it to relax myself or calm myself when I'm upset, I do it to keep alert when I'm bored, and I do it to express my joy when I'm excited. I talk the most to myself when I'm excited because that's when I'm the most talkative to begin with. My need to ramble about my "special interests" is so great that, if nobody wants to listen to me, I'll just tell myself all of the great and interesting things that I have to say. I'm not surprised that your son gets upset when you ask him what he's talking about. He's probably embarrassed that you "catch" him.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:58 PM   #10
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

My son is dx'd with HFA and not AS because of his "language" delay. He has great speech and talked better and sooner than my NT kids. He does have expressive/receptive language disorder and it has nearly completely resolved. It has taken 4 years to get this far.
Not all AS kids are "little professors". My son is not and will not ever be. To talk like that is not a criteria for AS--it is a characteristic of SOME. My son has limited interests---but does not talk about them. He plays only with them. (xbox and Legos---for the past 4 years)
So even within the spectrum of AS or HFA---there is a huge functioning level. My son is extremely high functioning. The school even denies he is HFA. But he was dx'd at 6y. (he is 7.5y now). He is totally mainstreamed with the occas help from his aide. He has the normal ASD troubles with transitions or starting ANYTHING new--or not new (like his schoolwork). He HAS friends. But he does have problems with taking turns or realizing that someone else may win a game!!

Dh was recently dx'd about 4 months ago. It was NOT the dx I expected. He does not "appear" to sound or "look" like an aspie. But he is totally aloof to everything around him, can not take critizism. And since the dx, everything the man has ever done---makes 100% total sense now. We've been married for 14 years and I've always thought "something" was different. He was a computer geek in high school and bullied/beat-up. But he had friends. But he never has had "best friends". Even with me---he just doesn't "talk". He can't communicate well.
Saying that---AS is totally different in children and adults.

 
Old 07-16-2007, 10:54 AM   #11
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

i might be able to help explain this. im 19 and i suffer from aspergers. so i know a good deal about it. i am on the really high end of it i actually went to regular high school for a year before finally being diagnosed aspergers id been diagnosed everything else though before ADD ADHD BIPOLAR. i went a school for aspergers and autism and from my observations aspergers can be as little as just having the traits. like for me i used to always get in trouble in school on days sceduled changed. and when i get angry i would always rock and bang my head. but for me everything else is normal other than i have always been a little weak in spelling and english. and super high level in math/science which i have learned in my time at my school alot of AS kids are high in math.
so i guess in my opinion the difference is just level of severity. aspergers is nothing more and nothing less than autism. just a high level of it.

 
Old 07-17-2007, 06:31 PM   #12
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

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To talk like that is not a criteria for AS--it is a characteristic of SOME. So even within the spectrum of AS or HFA---there is a huge functioning level. My son is extremely high functioning. The school even denies he is HFA. Saying that---AS is totally different in children and adults.
Very, very well-put. The reaction I usually get from people when I tell them I'm an Aspie is the following: "Really?! I would never have known!" I can hide my traits well around people I don't know, but that doesn't mean that the traits aren't there. I have a different manifestation of Asperger's for two reasons: I'm female and I'm an adult. So, even most people who know what Asperger's is don't suspect me. I'm not horribly socially deficit, so that's why I usually "slip between the cracks." I'm a total loner and I hate being around people, but I can socialize for a short amount of time.

I appear as "quiet and nice" to people I don't know well because I act very reserved. I think it's because I don't know proper social behavior, so I act meek and "angelic" in order to avoid social faux pas. Once I begin to know somebody, my lack of empathy, domineering ways, and tendency to have rambling, non-reciprocal conversations is switched on. I believe this is because there are few people who I trust well enough and like/love enough to let me see the "bad" behaviors associated with my Asperger's, and I know that these people won't judge me for them. Needless to say, only close family and about two friends know the "real me."

I don't speak in a monotone. I'm very sarcastic. I did well in high school English classes when I had to analyze symbolism (especially in The Great Gatsby ). I believe myself to also have Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and thus, I have extreme difficulties with math and visual-spatial skills. I'm really good at reading tone of voice. (It's what I depend on for social cues.) But does this mean I don't have Asperger's? No.

I have always had "special interests." I ramble about said "special interests." I'm a toe walker. I rock and stim when upset. I get extremely upset and irritated by change. I have difficulty with verbal instructions. I have difficulty switching between tasks. I cannot "see the forest for the trees." I was hyperlexic as a child. I lined up toys as a child. I'm very clumsy. I need to be alone to "destress." I have moderate-severe sensory issues. Etc.

So, even though I don't have some of the stereotypical "social symptoms," I definitely have Asperger's and I definitely struggle with it in some way each day. It is just very important to remember that, like others have said, autism is a spectrum to begin with, and within each spectrum disorder, there is an additional spectrum. There are Aspies who are pretty severely affected. There are others who just have a "dash of autism." It really just depends.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:05 AM   #13
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

So is Asperger's autism or not??? My son is AS newly Dx'd (after a mixed bag of others). Can I just say mild autism since more people know what that is? The only difference in his dx was that I think he TRIED to talk on time (he had a severe delay in clarity). He also seems to be a fair mix of HFA and AS from what I've read.

 
Old 07-26-2007, 09:20 PM   #14
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

The debate is still out on what Asperger's is exactly. For now, it is considered to be an Autism Spectrum Disorder, being the highest-functioning disorder on the spectrum. However, there are sooo many similarities between Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) and Asperger's that it isn't even funny. Lots of professionals are beginning to wonder if Asperger's is a form of NLD. I'd have to agree, really. There are some crucial "autistic traits" that are missing from Asperger's, most notably the difficulty with language. Many Aspies talk on time, if not early. It really is confusing, though, because a child with HFA looks the same as a child with Asperger's (most times) once the child has acquired language. But, if you read the criteria for an NLD diagnosis, it is almost exactly like Asperger's, with the addition of more severe visual-spatial and mathematical deficits, of which I have both. I still think I also have NLD, in addition to Asperger's, due to my visual-spatial problems and IQ split. Maybe the IQ is really the only difference between generic NLD and Asperger's. I really don't know. The DSM is going to have to sort all of this out before the DSM-V hits the shelves soon. Currently, NLD isn't even in the DSM (which is a crime). I think that we'll see some big changes in classification on where Asperger's belongs. But, as for now, it still is considered to be part of the autism spectrum/Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:17 PM   #15
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Re: What is the Difference between Autism and Aspergers

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Originally Posted by lukes mom View Post
That leads me to ask a question. What distiguishes high functioning from low functioning? My son was said to be "slightly", but, he has this language delay? Am I just being told that to soothe me? I just don't seem to get answers from the "professionals". I guess that noone can tell me if he will ever talk "normally" or be able to function on his own. The "right now" is so confusing.
Lisa
Lisa,

I know how you feel. My AS son, now almost 16 was diagnosed at almost 3yrs old. I had sooo many questions, and still do. There usually isn't one magical answer to your questions. No one will ever be able to tell you how "far" your child will go. Do not ever let anyone tell you a limit your child will achieve. Each child is different. Read, read as much as you can. That will help ease you a lot. To me whether my son was diagnosed one year with PDD, then Autism, then AS, it really was not a major factor to me. I knew the direction I needed to go no matter what the term was, and that was up. Always go up Things do get easier, and more clear
Hope this helps.


 
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