Autism vs. Asperger's: What's The Difference? (2023)

What's The Difference Between Autism and Asperger's?

Autism and Asperger's are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two distinct conditions. Both conditions are part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but they have different symptoms and characteristics.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior.

People with autism often have difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication, have trouble making eye contact, and may engage in repetitive behaviors. They may also have sensory sensitivities and struggle with changes in routine.

Asperger's, on the other hand, is a milder form of autism. People with Asperger's typically have good language skills and may have above-average intelligence.

They may struggle with social interactions and may have difficulty understanding social cues or making friends.

They may also have obsessive interests and engage in repetitive behaviors.

One of the key differences between autism and Asperger's is the age of onset. Autism is typically diagnosed in early childhood, while Asperger's may not be diagnosed until later in childhood or even in adulthood.

Another difference is the severity of symptoms. While people with autism often have significant impairments in communication and social interaction, people with Asperger's may have more subtle impairments.

(Video) Difference Between Autism and Asperger Syndrome

It's important to note that the distinction between autism and Asperger's is becoming less clear as the diagnostic criteria for ASD are changing.

In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Asperger's is no longer a separate diagnosis and is instead included under the umbrella of ASD.

Regardless of the specific diagnosis, people with autism or Asperger's can benefit from early intervention and support. This may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skills training. With the right support, people with autism or Asperger's can lead fulfilling and successful lives.

Common Misconceptions about Autism and Asperger's

Despite increased awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in recent years, there are still many misconceptions about the condition. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about autism and Asperger's:

  • Myth: People with autism or Asperger's lack empathy. This is not true. While people with ASD may have difficulty expressing their emotions, they can still feel empathy for others.
  • Myth: Autism is caused by bad parenting or vaccines. There is no evidence to support these claims. The exact cause of ASD is still unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • Misconception: People with autism or Asperger's are all the same. In reality, ASD affects each person differently. Some people may have more severe symptoms than others, and some may excel in certain areas while struggling in others.
  • Misconception: People with autism or Asperger's don't want friends or social interaction. Many people with ASD do want to make friends and engage in social interaction, but they may struggle with the necessary skills to do so.

By recognizing and dispelling these misconceptions, we can create a more accurate understanding of autism spectrum disorder and provide better support for individuals on the spectrum.

How to Support a Child with Autism or Asperger's in School

Children with autism or Asperger's may face unique challenges in the classroom that can impact their academic and social success.

However, there are many strategies that teachers and parents can use to support these children and help them thrive. Here are some tips for supporting a child with autism or Asperger's in school:

  • Create a structured environment: Children with ASD often thrive in structured environments with clear routines and expectations. Teachers can create visual schedules, provide consistent rules, and use visual aids to help students understand what is expected of them.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is an effective way to encourage positive behavior. Teachers can praise good behavior, offer rewards for meeting goals, and provide frequent feedback.
  • Provide sensory accommodations: Many children with ASD have sensory sensitivities that can make it difficult to learn in a traditional classroom setting. Teachers can offer sensory accommodations such as noise-cancelling headphones or fidget toys to help students stay focused.
  • Offer social skills training: Social skills can be challenging for children with ASD. Teachers can offer social skills training through group activities, role-playing exercises, or one-on-one coaching.
  • Collaborate with parents: Collaboration between teachers and parents is key to supporting a child with autism or Asperger's. Parents can share information about their child's strengths and challenges, and teachers can provide updates on academic progress.

By using these strategies, teachers and parents can create a supportive learning environment that helps children with autism or Asperger's reach their full potential in school.

(Video) Autism and Aspergers: 5 intriguing differences (YOU need to know)

Autism vs Asperger's Symptoms

While autism and Asperger's share some commonalities, they also have distinct differences in the symptoms that present. For example, those with autism may experience severe language delays or speech impairments, while those with Asperger's typically have normal language development.

Additionally, individuals with autism often exhibit repetitive behaviors or interests that can be all-consuming, while those with Asperger's may have more focused interests or hobbies that don't interfere as much with daily life.

Another difference is seen in social interaction.

While both conditions impact social skills to varying degrees, people with autism may struggle more severely in this area.

They may have difficulty understanding social cues and nonverbal communication, leading to difficulties in making friends and maintaining relationships. In contrast, people with Asperger's may be able to develop friendships but still face challenges around communication and social interaction.

It's important to note that not every person on the autism spectrum will fit neatly into one category or another. Some people may exhibit a mix of symptoms from both conditions or fall somewhere in between.

Regardless of the specific diagnosis, early intervention and support can make a significant difference in helping individuals on the spectrum reach their full potential.

Are Autism and Asperger's The Same Disorder?

As of 2023, the distinction between autism and Asperger's is still a topic of debate among experts. While the DSM-5 no longer recognizes Asperger's as a separate diagnosis, some professionals argue that there are still meaningful differences between the two conditions.

For example, some researchers suggest that people with Asperger's tend to have better verbal skills than those with autism.

Others point out that individuals with Asperger's may be more likely to have specific interests or talents in areas such as music or math.

(Video) Doris Greenberg, MD: What's the Difference Between Asperger's and Autism?

Despite ongoing discussions about the relationship between autism and Asperger's, it's clear that both conditions fall under the umbrella of ASD and share many common features.

What matters most is providing support and resources for individuals on the spectrum, regardless of their specific diagnosis. With continued research and understanding, we can continue to improve outcomes for people with ASD in all its forms.

Can you have aspergers but not autism?

The short answer is no. Asperger's is a form of autism, and individuals who were previously diagnosed with Asperger's are now diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association revised its diagnostic criteria for autism and eliminated the separate diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome.

Instead, individuals are now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which encompasses a range of conditions that were previously considered separate diagnoses. Therefore, if someone has been diagnosed with Asperger's in the past, they would now be considered to have ASD.

How can you tell if someone has autism or Aspergers?

It can be challenging to determine whether someone has autism or Asperger's, as the symptoms can vary widely from person to person. However, there are some common signs and behaviors that may indicate an individual is on the autism spectrum.

Some of these signs include difficulty with social interaction, communication challenges (such as delayed language development or difficulty understanding nonverbal cues), repetitive behaviors or interests, sensory sensitivities, and difficulty with transitions or changes in routine.

It's important to note that not everyone with ASD will exhibit all of these signs, and some people may have more subtle symptoms that are harder to detect. Additionally, many people with ASD have strengths and talents that should not be overlooked.

(Video) Autism & Asperger's: What's The Difference?

If you suspect that someone you know may have autism or Asperger's, it's important to seek out a professional evaluation from a qualified healthcare provider. A diagnosis can help individuals receive the support and resources they need to thrive.

Do treatment options differ for Asperger’s and autism?

While Asperger's and autism are no longer considered separate diagnoses, there are still differences in how individuals on the spectrum may be treated based on their unique needs.

Some people with ASD may benefit from medication to manage symptoms such as anxiety or depression, while others may find behavioral therapies or social skills training more effective.

In general, treatment for ASD focuses on addressing individual needs and challenges rather than specific diagnoses.

A comprehensive approach that includes a range of interventions such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and applied behavior analysis (ABA) can be effective in helping individuals with ASD reach their full potential.

It's important to work closely with healthcare providers and educators to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets the unique needs of each individual on the spectrum.

With appropriate support and resources, people with ASD can lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while autism and Asperger's are both part of the autism spectrum disorder, they have distinct symptoms and characteristics.

Autism is typically diagnosed in early childhood and involves significant impairments in communication and social interaction, while Asperger's is a milder form of autism that may not be diagnosed until later in life.

(Video) What is High Functioning Autism? | Kati Morton

Regardless of the specific diagnosis, early intervention and support can make a significant difference in the lives of people with autism or Asperger's.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/aspergers-vs-autism
  2. https://www.tpathways.org/faqs/what-is-the-difference-between-autism-and-aspergers/
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/aspergers/how-aspergers-different-than-autism/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/aspergers-vs-autism

FAQs

What is the main difference between autism and Aspergers? ›

The principal difference between autism and what was once diagnosed as Asperger's is that the latter features milder symptoms and an absence of language delays. Most children who were previously diagnosed with Asperger's have good language skills but may have difficulty “fitting in” with their peers.

Can Aspergers have normal life? ›

The majority of children and adults with Asperger syndrome live well and are able to enjoy life and do many things that neurotypical people can do. Many people will have some level of difficulty with some daily tasks or interactions.

What are the 3 main symptoms of Aspergers? ›

What are the Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome?
  • Inappropriate or minimal social interactions.
  • Conversations that almost always revolve around themselves or a certain topic, rather than others.
  • Not understanding emotions well or having less facial expression than others.

Can you have aspergers but not autism? ›

The Asperger diagnosis is distinguished from autism by a lack of language and cognitive delay. However, language and cognitive delay are not diagnostic criteria for autism. So, to fail to meet criteria for autism, a person with Asperger syndrome must not show the communication impairments specified for autism.

Can you have Aspergers and not autism? ›

Asperger's and autism are no longer considered separate diagnoses. People who may have previously received an Asperger's diagnosis instead now receive an autism diagnosis. But many people who were diagnosed with Asperger's before the diagnostic criteria changed in 2013 are still perceived as “having Asperger's.”

What is Asperger's personality? ›

People with Asperger syndrome often have difficulty 'reading' other people - recognising or understanding others' feelings and intentions - and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard for them to navigate the social world. They may: appear to be insensitive, even if they don't intend to be.

Is Asperger's a disability? ›

Asperger's syndrome (AS) is a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities describe several conditions that can impair an individual's behavior, learning, speech, or physical development. Symptoms begin in childhood years and are typically present throughout the rest of their lives.

What Asperger's looks like in adults? ›

You may have a hard time reacting to actions, words, and behaviors with empathy or concern. Exaggerated emotional response. While not always intentional, adults with AS may struggle to cope with emotional situations, feelings of frustration, or changes in pattern. This may lead to emotional outbursts.

How can you tell if someone is Asperger's? ›

Signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome
  1. Lack of interpersonal relationship skills and instincts.
  2. Inability to express one's own feelings.
  3. Often verbalizes internal thoughts that most would keep private.
  4. Flat tone / speaking style that lacks pitch.
  5. Appears to lack empathy.
  6. Has a difficult time interacting with peers.

What can trigger Asperger's? ›

The Likely Answer: There's No Single Cause

While the exact cause of Asperger's isn't known, many experts believe the disorder is probably triggered by a variety of factors. A combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental issues might work together to cause the syndrome.

What is Aspergers called now? ›

Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

What level of autism is Aspergers? ›

Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly known as Asperger's Syndrome)

Why is Asperger's no longer a diagnosis? ›

The reason behind the reclassification of Asperger's syndrome was its similarity to autism, and the fact that it was distinguished from the latter based simply on a lack of language and cognitive delay — which, interestingly, isn't something every individual on the spectrum experiences.

What is the new name for autism? ›

All types of autism are now merged into a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Changes in terminology reflect the newer diagnosis.

Is Asperger's hereditary? ›

The cause of Asperger syndrome, like most ASDs, is not fully understood, but there is a strong genetic basis, which means it does tend to run in families. Multiple environmental factors are also thought to play an important role in the development of all ASDs.

What is Asperger's example? ›

Asperger's disorder: common characteristics

For example, they might have strong verbal skills but weaker non-verbal skills. They might also be very clumsy. These children are often extremely knowledgeable about their favourite topics. They might have advanced language skills for their age and often start discussions.

What is so special about Aspergers? ›

can relax and be themselves without fearing social censure. don't attack the reputations of those around them. don't discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, age, or any other surface criteria. don't force others to live up to demanding social expectations.

What do people with Aspergers have? ›

It is one form of the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis (ASD). It causes impaired language and communication skills as well as repetitive or restrictive thinking and behavior. People diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome typically have high intelligence and no speech delays.

Does Asperger's get worse with age? ›

The simple answer to this question is, no. Autism Spectrum Disorder is not like heart disease or diabetes or similar physical conditions that can deteriorate over time.

What are good jobs for Aspergers? ›

Some great job choices for people with Asperger's syndrome are:
  • Computer programming.
  • Drafting.
  • Photography.
  • Equipment designing.
  • Car mechanic.
  • Accounting.
  • Taxi driver.
  • Physicist.

Does Aspergers qualify for Social Security? ›

Because Asperger's syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is among the conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Asperger's syndrome is classified in the Social Security Administration's blue book under autistic disorders and other pervasive developmental disorders.

What do adults with Aspergers struggle with? ›

Asperger's in adults typically causes issues with communication, emotion regulation and interpretation, social interactions, and behavior. People who have Asperger's may also experience other conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or OCD.

Is Aspergers physical or mental? ›

The World Health Organization (WHO) previously defined Asperger syndrome (AS) as one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are a spectrum of psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormalities of social interaction and communication that pervade the ...

Can someone have Asperger's and not know it? ›

It's entirely possible that someone with Asperger syndrome would not present noticeable symptoms until later on in their lives. As social interactions become more complex, their difficulty in responding to and understanding those interactions becomes more pronounced.

Is Asperger a form of autism? ›

Asperger syndrome is often considered a high functioning form of autism. It can lead to difficulty interacting socially, repeat behaviors, and clumsiness. Asperger syndrome is a part of the larger developmental disorder category of autism spectrum disorder.

Why is the term Asperger's no longer used? ›

The reason behind the reclassification of Asperger's syndrome was its similarity to autism, and the fact that it was distinguished from the latter based simply on a lack of language and cognitive delay — which, interestingly, isn't something every individual on the spectrum experiences.

Does Aspergers qualify as a disability? ›

Asperger's syndrome (AS) is a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities describe several conditions that can impair an individual's behavior, learning, speech, or physical development. Symptoms begin in childhood years and are typically present throughout the rest of their lives.

What is high-functioning autism called now? ›

As of 2013, Asperger Syndrome and High-functioning autism are no longer terms used by the American Psychological Association, and have instead both been merged into autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As of 2021, the World Health Organization also retired the terms and merged them into autism spectrum disorder.

What is high-functioning autism called? ›

Even so, lots of people still use the term Asperger's. The condition is what doctors call a "high-functioning" type of ASD. This means the symptoms are less severe than other kinds of autism spectrum disorders.

What are Asperger's behaviors? ›

Common symptoms of Asperger's that may impact social interaction or communication include:
  • Problems making or maintaining friendships.
  • Isolation or minimal interaction in social situations.
  • Poor eye contact or the tendency to stare at others.
  • Trouble interpreting gestures.
  • Inability to recognize humor, irony, and sarcasm.
Oct 22, 2022

Does Asperger's run in families? ›

The cause of Asperger syndrome, like most ASDs, is not fully understood, but there is a strong genetic basis, which means it does tend to run in families. Multiple environmental factors are also thought to play an important role in the development of all ASDs.

What is the new word for Aspergers? ›

Today, Asperger's syndrome is technically no longer a diagnosis on its own. It is now part of a broader category called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This group of related disorders shares some symptoms. Even so, lots of people still use the term Asperger's.

What is the problem with Asperger's? ›

People with Asperger syndrome often have difficulty 'reading' other people - recognising or understanding others' feelings and intentions - and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard for them to navigate the social world. They may: appear to be insensitive, even if they don't intend to be.

What is the other name for Aspergers? ›

Asperger syndrome, or Asperger's, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

What are unusual signs of Aspergers? ›

displays unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures. does not empathize with or seems insensitive to others' feelings and has a hard time “reading” other people or may have difficulty understanding humor.

Do Asperger's have empathy? ›

They may manifest feelings less outwardly, or their facial expression might not match what the individual is feeling inside. People with Asperger profiles do have empathy, despite an unfortunate stigma that suggests otherwise.

What is Asperger's body language? ›

Also, the atypical body language of Aspies can be misinterpreted as lack of attention, disrespect or malingering. Some Aspies may avoid eye contact, speak in monotone, or have a meltdown when over‐stimulated or frustrated.

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