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Differnce between aspergers and HFA ??

(27 Posts)
Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 19:57:09

Hi all,
So we are currently undergoing diagnosis for our son who is 22 months. We are yet to see the paediatrician but luckily have a consultant clinical psychologist in the family who has basically screened and observed him several times and concluded highly likely he has ASD.

When she last visited she did say he was showing behaviours that made her question that opinion though. Such as him being able to follow a request of fetching his bottle that's in another room. He understand that request and will often do it.... many times he won't thiugh!

However despite saying that she did go on to say she's still 90% sure it's autism due to lots of other things he does that suggest autism (the usual : stims , tip toes walking, gazes into thin air for ages like he's zoning out, speech regression, severe violent meltdowns.... )

I asked if it could possibly be aspergers but she's said it's more likely autism as he has no real Interest in interaction with others- he never really seeks it, very occasionally he will share something with me in a book he's looking at or something but generally he's happier playing solitary.

So my question is what other differences are there if any between HFA and aspergers ?? Does anyone here have/ had a toddler with HFA who's outgrowing many of their traits? I've always thought aspergers was more functioning of the two but according to her it is not... people with aspergers can present many difficulties like those with asd. I suppose I'm just curious to hear from those of you who have kids with HFA/ aspergers and what they were / are like at around toddler years ? TIA. smile

I'm sorry for waffling on.

AliceInUnderpants Thu 17-Nov-16 20:13:07

As far as I am aware, there is no current diagnosis of Aspergers. It all falls under the title of ASD now.

IIRC, the main distinction between the two was that one contained an element of language delay?

w4nnabesahm Thu 17-Nov-16 20:15:48

I asked if it could possibly be aspergers. ..

you do realise that Asperges is a form if autism. There have been changes as to how Asd is diagnosed and these days, all falls under 'autism', there isn't an Asperger's dx anymore.

In the days of Asperger's dx, the difference between HFA and Asperger's was, as far as I know, speech and language development. Where's a somebody on the high functioning end if the spectrum would get a dx of HFA is there was speech delay and if there wasn't, then the dx was Asperger's.

I've always thought aspergers was more functioning of the two but according to her it is not

no, it is not. Some with Asperger's live fairly normal lives (independent, job, family) but I know a few who have very high support needs. Having a high/normal IQ doesn't mean that things are necessarily fine.

also, if you have ASD, you don't outgrow it. it is. lifelong condition.

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:17:03

Ah yes this is right Alice. I recall reading that sorry! However people still often talk about aspergers and add as seperate entities! But I guess a label doesn't really change anything anyway ?

My son has a speech delay and speech regression so I'm assuming autism ...

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:19:03

W4anna - sorry for my ignorance I do hope I haven't caused you offence? Your post seemed a little hostile / angry? I'm afraid I am not an expert in this field- but I'm trying to educate myself as much as I can for my son.

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:21:22

I know it's a lifelong condition however you often hear of young toddlers being dx and then yesterday later when they're ready evaluated they have seemingly out grown many traits ? Perhaps it's because they simply learn to mask them better?

Just to clarify I don't see asd as damaged goods or bad. I love my son for who he is and a label and dx won't change any of that.

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:21:58

Eeek sorry for silly typos ! Damn predictive text !!!!

w4nnabesahm Thu 17-Nov-16 20:24:58

sorry, OP. wasn't meant that way.

The early days per dx are hard. Could have been a bit kinder

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:27:49

That's ok w4nna. I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible and be as politically correct in the process haha. My heads all over the place and perhaps I'm being a little ignorant ... I should have thought more before I wrote the original post

PolterGoose Thu 17-Nov-16 20:34:28

Aspergers is autism. It's just autism without intellectual disability and with no clinically significant speech delay by 3yo. The Americans (in the DSM5) have submerged all the autisms into one category of ASD and many clinicians are now diagnosing to that criteria (the other criteria is from the WHO's ICD-10 but it's quite old and outdated). People often mistakenly think Aspergers is 'mild autism' but for an Aspergers diagnosis you still had to meet all the criteria for being autistic.

Autism isn't a static condition so there will be progress, it just might be a bit different and appear more random!

This article by Tony Attwood might be helpful.

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:53:10

Sorry I am aware aspergers is autism. I'll look at that link now. Thanks Polter

lougle Thu 17-Nov-16 21:05:01

I think this is why ASD is so confusing for people. So the diagnostic criteria is the same for everyone:

"Autism Spectrum Disorder 299.00 (F84.0)

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):

1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.

2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).

4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement)."

But each individual will have a different profile. So one person could have mild difficulties in one area and severe difficulties in another, while the next could have severe difficulties in all areas, but they'd both have ASD.

Nobody would quibble if someone said 'my DD has cerebral palsy so has to use a walking frame' and someone else said 'my DD has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair'. It's similar to that really.

Heytheredelilah1987 Thu 17-Nov-16 21:12:24

Ah I see. Thanks for that Lougle. That's really helpful of you.

My son seems severe in some of those areas and less so in other - exactly as you suggest can be the case. Who knows what his dx will be... I struggle with the not knowing but ultimately so long as he's getting the best help available I'm going to be happy

zzzzz Thu 17-Nov-16 22:06:06

I asked if it could possibly be aspergers but she's said it's more likely autism as he has no real Interest in interaction with others
Whoever said this to you has no understanding of autism or Aspergers. Find another source of information because misinformation is not what you need.

lougle Thu 17-Nov-16 22:42:27

I don't want to be unkind to your family member but I agree with zzzzz. Aspergers vs Autism is more like saying 'Royal Gala vs Braeburn' 'python vs cobra' - there are (were) differences in the clinical history i.e. 'did your child talk before the age of 3' or 'was there a language delay' but otherwise, that's it, pretty much.

In practical terms you could have a child with relatively low functioning ASD, who is quite happy in their own little existence, so doesn't mind sharing their space with strangers, is quite happy to go wherever you want to as long as s/he has his/her special toy/gadget/leaf/stone and will be contented with looking at anything that spins. So a generally very 'easy' child. You could then have a very high functioning child with ASD who can't cope with being in a room with people s/he doesn't know, needs to plan every detail of every trip to the nth degree before s/he'll be happy to go, can't cope if the venue has certain lighting/sound, then needs to completely unwind for hours after going.

Heytheredelilah1987 Fri 18-Nov-16 07:29:31

Ahhh ladies I meant to word it differently!! I know aspergers is autism - as does my family member. Sorry for the jumbled post. I may actually delete this - I wrote it very tired...

quicklydecides Fri 18-Nov-16 07:53:40

No no you don't need to delete it. It's OK.
It's very complicated, for those who live it, for those who try to understand it and diagnose it.
Don't worry.
Tiredness is the worst.
I'm wrapped in a blanket trying hard to waken up, watching the clock because it's time to get them into their uniforms.
Maybe if I had another coffee...

FrayedHem Fri 18-Nov-16 09:25:16

I think as children with Asperger's generally have no speech delay/a large vocabulary, in the toddler years it can mask the depth of social interaction difficulties, whereas a preschooler with a language delay makes it much more apparent.

zzzzz Fri 18-Nov-16 09:35:46

as he has no real Interest in interaction with others
This is NOT an indication of autism or in any way a way of discriminating between autism and Aspergers. THAT idea not the wording is what makes me think your relative probably doesn't fully understand the conditions.
HQ won't (or shouldn't) delete unless you have outed yourself etc. though there is nothing particularly offensive in your post.

PolterGoose Fri 18-Nov-16 09:50:23

I agree this shouldn't be deleted.

It is vital that we challenge myths about autism. Too many autistic children (and adults) are still getting missed because of outdated and plain wrong stereotypes.

Heytheredelilah1987 Fri 18-Nov-16 09:53:20

Ok ladies ... thanks. I feel such an incompetent fool.

Heytheredelilah1987 Fri 18-Nov-16 09:54:44

Anyway ... thanks for the enlightenment all the same. I just want to say my relative is a fantastic woman and a consultant who does know what's she's talking about. Perhaps I've interperated what she has said wrong. I'm sorry again if I've annoyed anyone or offended in anyway. It was not my intention. My only desire is to help my son.

PolterGoose Fri 18-Nov-16 10:10:06

Honestly, you're not an incompetent fool! These myths are widespread and have become part of the vernacular.

Geretrude Fri 18-Nov-16 10:10:30

Honestly Heythere - you haven't done or said anything wrong. Even people who work constantly with children with autism come out with sweeping generalisations ie I was at a talk the other day and the speaker said that all children with autism have violent meltdowns. Not true.

But that's her experience of autism and it is true for a lot of children with autism. But not all of them.

Ekorre Fri 18-Nov-16 11:57:44

Yes this is one of the problems with ASD, that it is so variable (some people have opposite symptoms e.g. love hugs or hate hugs) and so many people think they know what they are talking about.

This book is good for a history of what and why different diagnosis have been introduced. A really interesting book but be aware there is some upsetting stuff about things that have happened to autistic people.

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