Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry

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Autism VS Asperger’s Syndrome: What’s the Difference?

Many consider special children as special gifts and, probably, think that every autistic child is diagnosed the same. It is time to clear a few things out. Not all autistic children are the same first and foremost. In addition, there are different types of autism and one of those is Asperger’s syndrome (AS).

AS is one of the two main types of autism but it is not easily detected until late childhood, sometimes even to adulthood. Symptoms of AS is the same as the autism we all know – children have their own world. However, there are also differences. Some of those who have AS get easily excited over the most unusual things but cannot communicate well. Some are even brilliant and/or talented on certain areas but that’s only a few handful.

Just because those with Asperger’s syndrome may have extraordinary talents doesn’t mean all of them do, nor it should be judged that way. The key idea is to identify the three main areas where they have difficulty with and that is socialization, communication and behavior range.

So what are the differences between classic autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Normally, those with autism often are delayed in communicating with others and tend to have a below average IQ, AS develop their communication skills just like normal people and may have either average to above average IQ. However, autistic people don’t get depressed because they live in their own little world while those with AS tend to be affected by their surroundings because they are aware of what is happening around them. While children with autism tend to be loners and aloof against their peers, children with Asperger’s are inclined to fit in and interact, however they don’t know how to properly do it and tend to be socially awkward, and sometimes have lack of empathy. Looking at it in retrospect, children with Asperger’s Syndrome appear to be normal kids.

There are also certain traits that are related to Asperger’s. For instance, children with AS have this obsessive trait wherein they have this need to categorize or know everything. They may be talented in categorizing information and memory work but they can be poor in terms of abstract concepts.

In terms of communication, children with Asperger’s syndrome tend to have a wide vocabulary and be talkative. However, their speech patterns differ because it may lack inflection, may be too formal, too loud, to quiet, too soft, or too fast. They may also fail to communicate whenever they feel stressed or upset. Furthermore, children with AS cannot understand subtle language such as irony, humor and sarcasm.

When it comes to motor skills, children with Asperger’s may or may not have problems with motor skills but some may be clumsy or awkward.

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