A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High-Functioning Autism

A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism are two autism spectrum disorders. They share many of the same symptoms, but there are some key differences. Asperger syndrome is considered to be a milder form of autism.

People with Asperger syndrome generally have fewer problems with speech and more normal intelligence. They may also have above-average verbal skills. People with high-functioning autism may have more difficulty with social interaction and communication.

 

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome (AS) is one of a group of developmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). AS is considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum.

A diagnosis of AS typically means that the individual has:

  • Significant difficulties with social interaction
  • Impairments in communication skills
  • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests

However, individuals with AS often have above-average intelligence and may excel in a particular area, such as music or math.

 

What is High-Functioning Autism?

High-functioning autism is a form of autism spectrum disorder. People with this diagnosis function at a higher level than those with other forms of ASD.

They may speak clearly, read and write well, and have good fine motor skills. However, they still have difficulty understanding social cues and interpersonal relationships.

 

Causes

There is no known single cause for Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism. Researchers believe that both Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

 

Genetic Factors

Although the exact cause of Asperger syndrome is unknown, it is believed to have a genetic component. This means that it may be passed down from parents to their children. Researchers are currently working to identify specific genes that may be involved in the development of Asperger syndrome.

 

Environmental Factors

In addition to the genetic predisposition, various environmental factors might play a role in the development of AS or HFA. Studies have found that children who are born prematurely or at low birth weight are more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder. Also, viral infections during pregnancy or certain complications during childbirth have been linked with an increased risk of autism.

Read also: High-Functioning Autism – The Basic Guide on HFA

 

Diagnosis

It can be difficult to receive a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. This is because there is no one medical or genetic test for these conditions.

Instead, healthcare professionals must look at the child’s developmental history and behavior to make a diagnosis. A diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism is usually made after a comprehensive evaluation.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Criteria

In order to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a child must display delays or abnormalities in three different areas: social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors/restricted interests. (Not all children with autism will have all three of these features.) In addition, the symptoms must begin before age 3.

 

Social interaction:

-Children with ASD typically do not interact with other people in the same way that neurotypical children do. They may avoid eye contact, have trouble understanding social cues such as body language or facial expressions, and prefer to be alone.

 

Communication:

-Children with ASD may have trouble communicating with others. They may not babble or coo as infants, use gestures such as pointing or waving or say single words by age 2. Some children with ASD eventually learn to speak fluently, while others never develop more than basic communication skills.

 

Repetitive behaviors/restricted interests:

Children with ASD often display repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping, spinning, or head banging. They may also be fixated on specific topics or objects to the exclusion of all others.

 

Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Criteria

There is no single diagnostic test for Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. The diagnosis is made by clinical observation and developmental history, including family history, of the child.

Healthcare professionals trained in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders use specific criteria to determine if a child or adult meets the criteria for ASD.

Autism diagnostic criteria have come a long way since Kanner first described autism in 1943. In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published its revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which included Asperger syndrome as one of several types of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).

In 2013, the APA released the fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5), which merged all PDDs into one autism spectrum disorder (ASD) category. The severity of ASD is determined by how much support an individual needs in three main areas:

  • Stereotyped/repetitive/restricted behaviors and interests
  • Impaired social communication
  • Impaired social interaction

An individual with ASD must have symptoms in at least two of these areas to be given a diagnosis. In addition, the symptoms must cause clinically significant impairment in development or functioning and can’t be better explained by another mental disorder.

To be diagnosed with ASD, an individual must also have persistent problems with social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities that cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Read also: Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome: Signs and Symptoms

 

Treatment

Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism are neurological disorders that fall within the autism spectrum. There is no known cure for either Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, but there are treatments that can help. The most important thing you can do for your child is to get them the help they need.

 

Behavioral Therapy

The most common type of treatment for Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism is behavioral therapy. This therapy is aimed at helping the child learn new skills and behaviors and improving social and communication skills.

Behavioral therapy may include:

Social skills training: This can help the child learn how to interact with others and improve social skills.
Communication training: This can help the child learn how to communicate better.
Behavioral management: This can help the child learn how to control his or her behavior.
Parent training: This can help parents learn how to deal with their child’s behavior.

 

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy (SLT) helps children to develop their communication skills. Many children with AS or HFASD have difficulty with pragmatic, or social, language skills.

They may have trouble understanding unwritten social rules, such as turn-taking in conversation, and they may not be able to pick up on social cues, such as the use of eye contact, facial expressions, and body language.

They may also have difficulty using language flexibly and appropriately for different situations. SLT can help your child to improve his or her understanding of social rules and to use language more flexibly and effectively.

 

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is a professional discipline that uses activities to promote health and well-being. OTs work with individuals of all ages to help them develop the skills they need to participate in the things they want and need to do.

Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) are both parts of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and atypicalities in interests and activities. While each individual with AS or HFA experiences unique symptoms, many people with these disorders benefit from OT intervention.

 

OTs can work with individuals with AS or HFA to address a variety of areas, including:

Sensory processing:

Many people with AS or HFA have difficulties processing certain types of sensory information, such as visual input or loud noise. An OT can help identify individual sensory needs and develop strategies to manage or accommodate them.

Fine motor skills:

Fine motor skills are the small muscle movements we use for activities like writing or buttoning a shirt. People with AS or HFA may have difficulty with fine motor skills, but an OT can help develop these skills through exercises and activities.

Gross motor skills:

Gross motor skills are the large muscle movements we use for activities like walking or riding a bike. People with AS or HFA may have difficulty with gross motor skills, but an OT can help develop these skills through exercises and activities.

Visual perception:

Visual perception is the ability to understand what we see. People with AS or HFA may have difficulty understanding visual information, but an OT can help develop this skill through exercises and activities.
-Activities of daily living:

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the things we do every day to take care of ourselves, such as dressing, eating, and bathing. People with AS or HFA may have difficulty with ADLs, but an OT can help develop the skills needed to perform these activities independently.

 

 

Prognosis

Although there is no cure for Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, most children with these conditions improve as they grow older.

Treatment can help your child develop skills and improve social interactions. However, some children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism never develop the skills they need to live independently as adults.

 

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a high-functioning form of autism. This means that people with AS have difficulty with social interaction and communication, but they do not have the same cognitive impairments as those with other forms of autism. People with AS are often highly intelligent and may excel in specific areas, such as music or mathematics.

Most children with AS are diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence. The exact cause of AS is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for AS, but there are treatments that can help people manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.

 

High-Functioning Autism

High-functioning autism is a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. It is applied to people with a high cognitive function who have fewer difficulties with speech and adaptive behavior than those affected by other forms of autism. However, they still have social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

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