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Communicating as a Leader

Understanding the Differences Between Aspergers and Autism

Jon Arnold asked:

Autistic Disorder or Autism is a developmental disability that has a crucial impact on the normal development of the brain. It affects the cognitive portions that are significant for social integration and everyday living skills. People who suffer with Autism have deficits in the areas of social interactions and communication skills.

Children and adults alike who are diagnosed with Autism typically have difficulty with normal verbal or non-verbal communication such as eye-to-eye contact, facial expressions, body postures and general gestures associated with simple interactions.

Basically, normal peer relationships are diminished due to the lack of social skills. People with Autism tend to migrate toward exclusive activities. Unfortunately, this disease also affects self-help daily living skills. It affects toileting, feeding, dressing and/or brushing teeth, etc. Moreover, one person with Autism may experience very different symptoms and behaviors than the next.

Due to this broad range of symptoms, Autism has been called the “Spectrum” Disorder. Specifically, a person that is suffering with mild autistic symptoms is at one end of the spectrum. A person with severe autistic symptoms is at the other end of the spectrum. Autism is now often referred to as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). One of the conditions of ASD is the Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of the Autistic Disorder where people have relatively fewer developmental delays. Asperger’s Syndrome is actually said to be hereditary by researchers as it has been simultaneously diagnosed with depression and bipolar diseases. Asperger’s Syndrome is applied to identify the mildest and highest functioning end of Autism spectrum. It is a high functioning form of Autism. Therefore, it is at the mild spectrum of Autism. There is no prescribed regimen of treatment for this disease; however adults may live productive, independent lives.

Three basic aspects of development are affected by Aspersers. They are the use of language for communicative purposes and certain behaviors with stylistic characteristics, social relatedness and social skills, and a limited, but intense range of interest.

Interestingly enough, the language is lucid before age four. Although speech is sometimes repetitive, the grammar is usually very good. Their voices tend to be flat and emotionless. Individuals with Aspergers are obsessed with complex topics and are often described as eccentric. Ironically, they are in the above-average range in verbal agility, yet many have dyslexia, writing problems as well as difficulty with mathematics. The Autism Asperger individual is socially aware, however displays inappropriate reciprocal interaction. Their movements may be clumsy or awkward and they present odd forms of self-stimulatory behavior.

The main characteristic of Aspergers Syndrome that makes its children unique and fascinating is their peculiar areas of “special interest”. This is very different from typical Autism in that those children’s interests are more likely to be objects or parts of objects.

The Asperger’s Syndrome children are fascinated with the intellectual dynamics of subjects. Even prior to attending school, these children will display an obsessive interest in areas such as math, science, reading or even some aspect of history or geography.

Another major characteristic that identifies Autism Aspergers from the typical Autism is the socialization deficit. In most cases, children with AS express a desire to fit in socially. Typical Autism victims suggest complete exclusion and seclusion. In fact, AS individuals tend to become frustrated because they aren’t able to interact appropriately.

Lastly, the use of language skills is can be used to determine if a child should be diagnosed with the Autistic Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome. AS children have language skills that are very strong and tends to be very concrete. AS children have difficulty dealing with humor; tendency not to get jokes or laughing at odd times because they have difficulty with give or take with conversations, since their conversations tend to be self-oriented. Thus, these are differences that identify each disease as separate afflictions as they are very difficult to diagnose.

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