written by: Cheryl Gabbert
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 7/28/2010
The lines are sometimes blurred when it comes to the similarities and differences between Asperger's vs. autism. While both are autism spectrum disorders, and there are similarities that can be noted in autism and Asperger's syndrome, there are some pretty big differences too.
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Similarities Between Autism and Asperger's Disorder
There are many similarities in autism and Asperger syndrome, also known as Asperger's disorder. Both autism and Asperger's disorder are known as "Autism Spectrum Disorders". People who have autism and Asperger's disorder both suffer from poor communication skills. Even though the person who has Asperger's may have great expressive language skills, he or she will have problems communicating due to trouble interpreting other people's social cues. Therefore, both have trouble maintaining age appropriate relationships. Many children with high functioning autism or Asperger's disorder would rather talk to adults than kids their own age. Poor eye contact is exhibited by both populations. Resistance to a change in routine is commonly found in both Asperger's and autism. Hyper or hyposensitivity to pain and touch is common in both disorders. Problems with gross and fine motor skills can be noted in both groups. Children with autism and Asperger syndrome alike may develop obsessions to a specific subject of interest.
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Differences in Autism and Asperger Syndrome
While there are many similarities between children with autism and those with Asperger's disorder, there are also quite a few differences that can be noted. Verbal IQ is higher than the performance IQ in Asperger's. Young children with Asperger's disorder reach most developmental milestones within a typical timeframe. Normal to above average intelligence and language development is common in children with Asperger's disorder. In autism, the person's IQ is usually below average, and communication delays are always present. Many autistic children are very late at developing verbal language. Some are nonverbal. Asperger's is usually detected later in a child's life than autism. The average age for the diagnosis of Asperger's is 6-11, and Autism is usually diagnosed around or before the age of 3. Problems with depression are much more common with people who have Asperger's disorder than in those with autism. This is probably because those with Asperger's disorder tend to know that they have social challenges and sometimes suffer anxiety and depression related to these problems, while autistic people typically are to some degree oblivious to the need for social interactions.