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Spotlight on the Symptoms of High Functioning Autism

written by: brandieewine • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/18/2011

High functioning autism is a disorder that is often missed by parents and teachers. This article discusses the various symptoms of high functioning autism and how they manifest.

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    A high functioning autistic child may be able to speak and interact socially to a very high degree. They also generally have average to above average intelligence and IQ scores. This is why the symptoms of high functioning autism are often undiscovered in children. While parents may not be armed with a medical degree, there are specific high functioning autism symptoms that are common and reasonably easy to spot.

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    Social Skills

    One of the first symptoms of high functioning autism is the tendency to avoid eye contact. A person with high functioning autism may display symptoms of being almost robotic. They will not display a large range of facial expressions. They may not display sympathy or emotion for the suffering of others. They often do not understand jokes and make take even the most sarcastic of comments literally. While all children repeatedly ask for things, they will make obsessive requests. They are often loners or outcasts. They will have very few friends or none at all. While these are general symptoms of high functioning autism they are not all inclusive. It is important to note any additional symptoms observed.

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    Ability to Communicate

    High functioning autistic children are often teased by other children. This is simply because they are often extremely focused on any given topic or subject in school. They often appear uninterested in speaking with others or joining in group conversations. They may make inappropriate comments or laugh at inappropriate times. If they are not interested in a topic of conversation they may appear to completely ignore what is being said. Communicating in an authoritative “professor-like” tone is commonly reported when discussing high functioning autism symptoms.

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    Reactions

    One major symptom of high functioning autism is hyper-sensitivity to sensory stimuli. Children with high functioning autism may react strongly to sounds, textures, bright lights, and other stimuli. For example, a child may cover their ears at the grocery store because they are bothered by the sound of the beep from the cash register.

    A high functioning autistic child may also appear stubborn and easily agitated at times. Basic daily activities such as hair washing or teeth brushing can become extremely problematic. These symptoms are best managed with interventions. Take notes and report the information to a doctor as soon as possible.

    NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medication advice and opinion.

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    References

    Ozonoff Sally, Dawson Geraldine, McPartland James A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive 2002

    David Hirsch, MD "High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome" http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/high-functioning-autism

    Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association http://www.ahany.org/group_st.htm

    Reed Vicki, "High Functioning Autism" http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED408765.pdf

    Turkington Ruth Anan, Turkington Carol The Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders December 30,2006