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What is the difference between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

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Historically, Asperger’s Syndrome (Asperger’s) was a standalone diagnosis that was considered a mild form of autism or “high-functioning” autism. In modern medicine, children with Asperger’s symptoms are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The symptoms of Asperger’s are experienced differently from child to child, which is why the ASD is more suited as a description for the wide range of symptoms and experiences.

No matter what the name preference is, it is important to get the appropriate treatment for your child with ASD as early in their development as possible. At Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting, we put a strong emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention in order to provide the tools and support necessary for any child with ASD. Early intervention can increase your child’s independence and help teach necessary living skills that children on the spectrum commonly find difficult. Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting uses applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to address the developmental struggles and develop the skills and the confidence every child needs.

Range of ASD Symptoms

Speech and Language Delays

The main difference between ASD and Asperger’s is that Asperger’s has milder symptoms and usually no significant speech and language delays. Most children with Asperger’s have difficulty socializing and may feel uncomfortable amongst their peers, but not because of delayed language skills. Conversely, many other children on the spectrum typically exhibit speech and communication issues such as problems understanding directions and the inability to understand nonverbal gestures or body language.

Cognitive Delays

A second key difference between autism and Asperger’s is cognitive function. By definition, a person with Asperger’s cannot have a significant cognitive delay as seen in some children with autism. The idea of “high-functioning” is evidenced by the ease of communication and attention to abstract ideas like thoughts and feelings shown by those with Asperger’s. In the same situation, a child with autism would have much more difficulty discerning the same nonverbal cues.

Treatment for Children with Autism and Aspergers

It is common to hear of older teenagers with undiagnosed ASD because Asperger’s can more easily be concealed or passed on by being shy or awkward. However, the internal and external challenges faced by a child on the spectrum can have lasting effects when there is a lack of support for their diagnosis. Learning the difference between autism and Asperger’s can be helpful, however, it is monumentally more important to get your child the help he/she requires to build their social and everyday living skills. 

Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting provides a place and a program to systematically build on the skills your child is constantly developing. Our doctors, specialists, and clinical staff are trained to adjust the program based on the initial diagnosis and the ongoing screening and evaluations that take place at each session. Together with parent and family help, your child can experience the joy of confidence and social interaction we all support.

We Believe That Early Diagnosis & Intervention Is Key.