The difference between Asperger's and Autism from a special educator

Samantha - posted on 09/25/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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DSM IV-TR definitions of Asperger's and Autism.



[The following is from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV]

(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction

(B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)

(D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

(C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)

(D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects



(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.



(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)



(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.



Autism is classified from the CDC which comes from the DSM-IV TR as:

Six or more items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):

qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)

lack of social or emotional reciprocity

qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)

in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others

stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language

lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level

restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

stereotyped and repetitive motor manners (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)

persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.

The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.





For Aspergers you need at least 3 of the areas listed. And for Autism you need at least 6. My sources are coming from the CDC and DSM-IV TR

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Erica - posted on 10/11/2011

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After reading through all of the responses I would really consider editing your post or removing it completely. Being that you are talking to parents who live this every single day of their lives it is incredulous to have someone post what they "believe" is true. In the words of my husband "you have enough informatio to make you dangerous" and leaving a post up like this is very dangerous and slightly disrespectful to the ones who live it 24/7. I understand your apologies and I do not expect you to aplogize to me but I do recommend that you Edit your initial post to something that is factual and not something that you interperted wrongly.

Adrienne - posted on 10/03/2011

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I have to say that I'm concerned about all this association between low IQ and Autism. My son does not qualify for an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis because, definitionally, those with Asperger's Syndrome have 'no clinically significant delay in language'. My son does have such a delay but also has a normal to high IQ. Since, the DSM IV does not mention IQ as a diagnostic feature for autism, it seems to that we should be careful about suggesting such a link. It is important to realise that the IQ of people with autism can fall anywhere within a wide range.

Bobbi - posted on 10/07/2011

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BTW, there is NO connection/correlation at all between IQ and autism/Autistic spectrum conditions/aspergers... one can be greatly affected ( as they say low functioning )by their autism/aspergers/ASC and have a above average IQ, or not be greatly affected by their autism ( High Functioning) and have a "low IQ" or learning difficulties. Apologies, but it angers me that the question of IQ is still asked!!!

[deleted account]

I didn't see anything about IQ in the diagnostic criteria. According to the criteria and our pediatric developmental specialist, the difference between Autism and Aspergers is the presence of age-appropriate communication.

Christina - posted on 10/19/2011

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That's all great information but it's for a professional licensed clinician and or psychiatrist to decide. Anyone can have that information and it can easily be taken out of context. A study would be done on the individual and hopefully a doubleblind study would be done just so that there are no confounds. A diagnosis is a lifelong issue that will not go away and should not be taken lightly (I'm not saying you or anyone on here is) I am just saying that some people could easily pick instances of their child and self-diagnose and that is not what this book is for.

Most therapist only use this book for insurance purposes now so that the client can be seen and treated because the insurance company wants a diagnosis. You'll find that in this industry (since I'm in it) people are not quick to take a child and place a label on them because there could be outside factors that may be the behavioral aspect of your son not socializing and getting bad grades. Searching for the answer yourself on the internet or any mother to do so can be harmful to your child ( I know that you know your child more than anyone) but on a psychological level there are so many other mental issues that you do not know about unless you are an expert in that field.

Please just take your child to the proper psychiatrist and or psychologist so that they can do their job and help your son if there are any mental issues.

Thanks

Christina

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Mellissa - posted on 11/11/2011

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When my husband and I first got custody of his son, we knew we had some major hurdles to overcome. There had been abuse and neglect. Our son was 2. We spent the better part of 2 years saying he was just hyper. He spoke very little, just grunted and pointed. We were seeing dr.'s had him in to everyone we could to help with his speech. Ran every test that I think was possible. Then we moved.We had to start over with a whole new set of doctors. And it was one of the best things that could have ever happened. Amid many doctors telling us that our son was ADD and needed medication, we refused. He just seemed too young to have to be on a medication every day for the rest of his life. When he turned four, we had spend a year working with a develomental pediatician. Someone who specialized with different developmental delays, autism and the rest of things that originally affect children. Again, we were presented with putting him on medication. That was7 years ago now. And in those 7 years we've tried many medication combinations and had only one change in diagnosis. Our son was originally (and this sound conflicting, but really it isn't) DX as ADHD/Ausperger/ODD w/ an undefined mood disorder.(ie bipolar) showing childhood symptoms of szichofrenia (sp?) (his bio-mom and her dad are both DX szichofrenics (sp?) ) In 7 years the only thing that has changed is now they say he is HIGH functioning Autistic instead of Auspergers. He is 11 years old and very smart, just not the way other 11 year olds are. He functions on the level of an 8 year old. We work very hard with our son to be the best HE can be. It doesn't really matter to us how the DX is read.

Susan - posted on 10/22/2011

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There's a new diagnostic manual in the works that supposedly is going to eliminate all of the current Pervasive Developmental Disorders (including Asperger's and Autism). There will only be an Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis. I've noticed that professionals are already tending to talk about ASD's rather than talking about AS or autism as separate diagnoses. The reason for the change is that it's proven impossible to define where one diagnosis ends and the other starts. As the posts here indicate, people with any of the current diagnoses may or may not share traits in common with people with one of the other diagnoses. Whether or not the proposed diagnostic changes will have unwanted practical effects in terms of which services a particular child receives is something that time will tell.

Erica - posted on 10/11/2011

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I belive you are leaving out one very important factor that is found in the current DSM:
Autism is diagnosed if symptoms are present before the age of 3

Aspergers is diagnosed if symptoms present itself after the age of 3

I appreciate your post and I feel that you are very knowlegable on the subject so please don't feel that I am discrediting you in any way. However my son presented with autism at the age of 2 and was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and his IQ was above average. He also presents with more autistic qualities than aspergers. The only difference is that my son is exceptionally affectionate and they attributed that to how affectionate we were with him and that every child does present differently, they said that is the oddity factor with his diagnosis.

Thank you for your input it is definitly helping to get the word out!

Bobbi - posted on 10/08/2011

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Samantha, my post was my reaction and opinion and does not dis-credit your apology in any way.. I possibly should have prefaced my post with an acknowledgement of your apology.

Samantha - posted on 10/08/2011

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@Bobbi, If you read my posts I apologized because I was misinformed/misread. I have apologized numerous times.

Bobbi - posted on 10/07/2011

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sorry but in reference to my son and many many children I have worked with over the years, there is VERY little difference.... just as every single child is different so is EVERY child on the spectrum! The professionals who diagnosed my son as HF Autistic Spectrum where Actually FRUSTRATED by the limitations of diagnosis, hence the new DSM which will incorporate aspergers into the diagnosis of Autistic spectrum..
Aspergers- HF autistic spectrum= splitting hairs....

Samantha - posted on 10/06/2011

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Again to everyone I am sorry my intpretation in my graduate level text books were my own fault when talking with my prof. I realized this.

Samantha - posted on 10/04/2011

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After talking with my professor in class I found out that I was mistaken and I am sorry. The biggest difference is the severity of the behaviors and the onset of age. I misinterpreted the definition in my text book and again I am truely sorry.

Susan - posted on 10/04/2011

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I agree with Adrienne I dont like the link with iq and autism. My son is autistic and extreemly smart he just dosent know how to allways communicate it to others. I find the assumption of IQ being the big diffrence between the 2 insluting.

Tania - posted on 10/03/2011

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can i ask what is the difference between aspergers and tourettes and i have two children one with aspergers and one with tourettes i have been told they are to very simular ?

Karen - posted on 10/01/2011

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I have a 9 year old with autism and a 12 year old with aspergers. They are similar, but also VERY different. My aspie kid doesn't know that he is on the autism spectrum - I know I need to tell him but just haven't gotten around to it or known how to do it. My middle son barely talked at 4 and now is verbally about the age of a 6 year old. At 4 or 5 is IQ test at 70, but just a few months ago he was tested and his IQ was average!!

I hear the DSM V is going to do away with the diagnosis of Aspergers and that it is all going to be called Autism, and I think that is a huge mistake!

Samantha - posted on 09/30/2011

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Rachel it sounds to me more like aspergers than autism. Make sure you have tested with non-verbal IQ tests.

Rachel - posted on 09/29/2011

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My son has a huge delay in communication. has sensory issues. Hes 25 mo and just started initiating play with us. But he can read (i taught him how with a reading program) he can spell his name, he sings several songs, knows his alphabet, and can count to 7 or 8. he is just very hard to understand when he speaks. (just started talking) he goes with the flow of everything, only gets upset at bedtime at other peoples houses. and sometimes if i leave him with someone including his dad. he can play parts of simple songs on the keyboard too. He doesn't really care for most other kids, but loves many adults. and VERY affectionate. he really picks and chooses who he is willing to share his time with. His ECFE teacher thinks hes autistic. I don't even know anymore. lol! he goes to a specialist on the 17th of next month. My dad and brother are aspies and I think I may have a touch of it myself.

Sam - posted on 09/28/2011

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Well said ♥, I Have an Aspi and I am proud. He is smart, he is loving, he just sometimes does not understand others and how they express themselves. Why because, we are too complicated :) Life is simple and logical to them and average people like us just make things so complicated.

Samantha - posted on 09/26/2011

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Sarah you are welcome. I am just posting as a person who is currently up on the newest research and in classes currently about students with ASD. The biggest difference is the IQ. Like I said if the IQ is average to genius its aspergers. I have had way to many parents have students diagnosed with autism, and put in a self-contained classroom when they could function and do the work in a regular education classroom with accomodations and resource for social skills or with an ABA therapist. I really like those sayings too.

Sarah - posted on 09/26/2011

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I have a 9 year old son diagnosed with ASD, around where I come from they don't tend to diagnose one over the other but rather as a spectrum disorder.

My son who is high functioning autism, often get confused as Aspergers even though his doctor clearly states he is NOT.

I find that people in general, and not just educators expect more from him because of the way he presents to others. It's very frustrating, not just for me as a parent but for him as well. You can't do any better than your best! I do push my children to be the best they can and set proper expectations within their reach. However, having others set the bar at a rate that is unattainable just isn't fair for any child, disability or not.

I love the saying, "not being able to speak, is not the same thing as, not having anything to say!" Just as "The ability to speak doesn't necessarily mean one has anything relevant to say!"

It's nice to see the difference through the eyes of an educator though, thanks for sharing!

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