Today, we’ll share what you should know about autism spectrum disorder, answering questions like, “what is Asperger’s and high-functioning autism?”, what intervention methods your child may benefit from, and where parents can go for help with autism diagnosis treatment plans to create a clear path towards a bright and happy future.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a broad range of conditions most often characterized by challenges with speech, learning, thinking, and problem-solving skills. More specifically, individuals diagnosed with autism may exhibit some or all of the following behaviors:
Avoiding eye contact
Easily upset by small changes in routine
Poor social skills
Repetitive behaviors, patterns, or movements
Aside from the behaviors and challenges listed above, there is a list of other sensory and medical issues that can accompany an autism diagnosis, including:
Seizures or sleep disorders
Anxiety or depression
Difficulty paying attention
The Difference Between Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism
So, we know autism spectrum disorder encompasses combinations of abilities and inabilities varying from one person to another, but what’s the difference between Asperger’s and high functioning autism?
Between 1994 and 2013, Asperger’s syndrome was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a developmental disorder closely related to high functioning autism and less severe than a traditional autism diagnosis. In 2013, Asperger’s syndrome was demedicalized by the APA and reclassified as an umbrella diagnosis under autism spectrum disorder. Although the term “high-functioning autism” is commonly used, it technically has never been recognized as a clinical diagnosis.
Individuals identified as having Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism typically exhibit strong verbal, language, and intellectual abilities, with extraordinary strengths of focus, persistence, aptitude for recognizing patterns, and attention to detail. Challenges for those with this less mild form of autism may still include things like:
Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills
Uncoordinated movements or clumsiness
Helping Children with Autism
Although children can be diagnosed between 18 months and two years old, some autistic individuals go years and even decades before they are officially diagnosed. The first step to helping children with autism is a proper diagnosis from a medical professional.
Research suggests the earlier an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is made, the more medical professionals and educators can improve the child’s overall development for more positive outcomes later in life. Just as autism is not the same from one person to the next, autism treatments are also not easily interchangeable. Treatments for autism vary based on the individual’s needs, but typically include a mix of the following:
Social skill training
Applied behavioral analysis
Specialized educational needs
Where to Go for Help with Autism
An autism diagnosis can come with many changes for you and your family, but with Morgan Guidance, you and your child will have a clear path forward into the future with confidence and hope, knowing you’ve got the best therapeutic and educational consultants on your side to help your child discover their full potential.
We specialize in therapeutic and educational services for children with autism, from pre-kindergarten through high school to residential placement for autistic young adults. Together, we will identify your child’s unique strengths, challenges, and desires, and create a plan that addresses each aspect for a brighter, more successful future. Contact Elaine at Morgan Guidance today for your free consultation.