The Definite Differences Between Autism Syndrome And Aspergers Syndrome

by Andrew Gowans

Autism and Aspergers syndrome are referred to as autism spectrum disorders (ASD. Not forms of mental illness, they are disorders with a bioneurological basis. Aspergers syndrome is sometimes called "more advanced autism," inferring that the Aspergers patient has fewer challenges that the autistic patient. However, there are some very definite differences between the two conditions.

Autism and Aspergers syndrome both involve problems with mental processes. Children with either disorder tend to be inflexible with regard to daily routine, their likes and dislikes, the way things are done, etc. They share a similar impairment in decoding language and fail to grasp metaphoric speech, taking everything literally.

There are differences between autism and Aspergers syndrome, though. The two conditions appear to have some overlap.

Let's start with autism. The ritualistic nature of many behaviors, as well as lack of most social interaction, makes the autistic child stand out as being different from quite an early age, usually by the age of three. Autism is regarded as being a lifelong condition, one that requires an intensive regimen of behavioral modification, dietary analysis, and sometimes drug therapy in the form of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication.

Autism's most striking symptom is an extreme lack of communication and social skills arising from rigid mental thought processes. This rigidity makes learning very difficult for most autistic people in general, but there are variations due to the complex genetics involved with the disorder.

Aspergers syndrome, on the other hand, usually is not as dramatic in its manifestations. Those children with Aspergers syndrome may appear to be merely very shy or slightly odd, lost in their own private little worlds. At the primary-school level, they may have some difficulties making friends, but they do make them. A diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome, therefore, may not be made until the child is quite a bit older and fails to mature socially in the same way as his peers. In essence, the Aspergers child fails to recognize important social cues.

Determining if the child has autism or Aspergers syndrome requires some travel though the gray areas of diagnosis. Aspergers is different from having a "more advanced" variety of autism. Autistic children are nearly lacking in social and communications skills in general. Aspergers children have the social and communication skills, but at an incomplete level.

While very similar in manifestation, a diagnosis of either autism or Aspergers syndrome requires professional assessment.

There are many more resources and information about autism signs, symptoms, treatments, and cutting edge medical research in, Autism: Everything Parents And Caregivers Should Know About The Disorder