Article Categories Health-and-Fitness Developmental-Disabilities

Differentiating Between Autism And Aspergers

By: Jon Arnold

Autism Aspergers are sometimes two disorders that are often diagnosed as just plain autism. This condition that is defined as "classical autism" can be found in the ASD's known as autism spectrum disorders. The main characteristics of autism are impaired social interaction, unusual, repetitive activities that are severely limited and problems with communication both on the verbal and nonverbal levels. Other ASD's include Rett syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, Aspergers syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder. Experts estimate that out of every 1,000 children, 3 to 6 will be diagnosed to have autism or aspergers to some degree. Males are much more likely to suffer with autism than females.

Common Signs of Autism and Aspergers

There are several sign of autism aspergers that one may likely get confused with autism. Autism is characterized by three distinctive behaviors. The autistic child has difficulty with social interaction, has repetitive behaviors or may have narrow, obsessive interests, and will have problems with verbal as well as with nonverbal communication. These behaviors may range from only mild to disabling.

The one characteristic that seems to stand out in an autistic child is the impaired social interaction. Signs of autism may manifest themselves as early as infancy with a baby being unresponsive to people. They may also focus intently on one object for a long period of time, much to the exclusion of others.

A child with Aspergers Disorder has a milder form of autism. Both autism aspergers are subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. As previously mentioned, these two disorders are found in the larger category named Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It is commonly known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders in the United States. In Asperger's Disorder, children affected by this are usually characterized by social isolation and of having eccentric behavior. There are impairments both in non-verbal communication and in two-sided social interaction. They may have a peculiar sounding speech due to the abnormalities of inflection as well as a repetitive pattern. They may appear to be clumsy in gross motor behavior and in articulation. The name "Asperger" came from Hans Asperger who was an Austrian physician who first characterized the disease in 1944.

Autistic children may fail to respond when their name is called, and many times, they may avoid eye contact with others. They have a difficult time in interpreting what other people are feeling or thinking, mainly due to the fact that they cannot understand social cues such as facial expressions or the tone of one's voice. Children with autism do not watch the faces of other people to pick up on clues about appropriate behavior. They also lack empathy.

Autism aspergers children may engage in repeated movements such as twirling and rocking, or in behavior that is self-abusive such as head banging or biting. Children who are characterized with these disorders may begin speaking later than other children ordinarily would and they may even refer to themselves by their own name instead of "I" or "me". Autistic children do not know how to interact with other children.

It is too bad that there is no cure for autism aspergers. Perhaps soon there will be a medical breakthrough that will unlock the mind of the autistic child.

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