High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome….so what is the difference?
Well I have High Functioning Autism and I was told that this diagnosis reflects the fact that I had speech delay as a child. As far as I am aware people with Asperger’s Syndrome may have unusual speech patterns or ways of using speech but not developmental delay.
Apart from being a full time fimmaker I also work as a tutor for The National Autistic Society in the UK and come in to contact with many people on the autistic spectrum. From first hand experience I would say that in general I am really quite different from the majority of aspies I meet. I do not for example share their trait of having an encyclopaedic knowledge of facts and figures on a particular subject. I also do not share the same cognitive abilities for understanding verbal instructions.
Another difference I sometimes see and I have heard this mentioned before is that I do not usually seek other peoples company and feel much more comfortable being alone. This seems different to some of the aspies I know that do seek other peoples company and would like to have a good social life. The problem for them is often understanding the “rules” of how it all works, how to make friends, listening to other people and not just talking at them about a subject they have no interest in.
I do have severe social difficulties that seem to be based around not being able to judge what people are thinking, I always assume that people are angry with me or see me as stupid and not worth talking to. This situation is not helped by my inability to grasp what someone is saying to me during a conversation. I find social situations extremely stressful and tiring. I’m not sure if these social problems also apply to aspies.
People with Aspergers also have the stereotype of being the “nerd” or computer genius. In reality this is not the case with most of the aspies that I meet although there are some that are. I also know some people with High Functioning Autism that have accumulated a huge amount of knowledge on particular subjects ranging from London buses to the English monarchy.
I witness just as much stimming from those with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I also find that people in both groups have a child like quality that I put down to some sort of delay in their emotional growth. In fact I would say that from personal experience the ability to handle our emotions is one of the biggest problems people on the autistic spectrum face.
So in summary there isn’t always a clear separation of symptoms between those with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, but for what it’s worth I can usually get a sense of which category I would place someone in.
I have been somewhat obsessed in the differences between High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. For some reason it seems important to me.
But then most people I speak to say does it really matter?