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autistic or aspergers? is there a key difference.

(14 Posts)
talktalktalk Tue 16-Aug-11 08:00:46

we are heading down the road of getting a diagnoses for my son who is now 8, he has so meany autistic behaviores it seem to be fairly clear. i know autistic behavior and that of a child with aspergers is very close but how do i know if it's one or the other and will i need to treat him any diffrent? at the mo i'm using hint and tip's on raising an autistic child and it's helped us no end, but could i still be getting it rong? kids should come with instructions smile

TotalChaos Tue 16-Aug-11 09:15:43

the main difference atm between the diagnostic criteria between AS and High Functioning Autism is whether or not there was language delay at age 3. If they revised the DSM criteria as planned, that distinction will go. as it's all part of the same spectrum I would carry on as you are, applying what seems useful from what you are reading, whether it's about autism, aspergers or mainstream parenting advice.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 16-Aug-11 09:38:03

Exactly as Total says. If there was language delay at 3 it will be called HF ASD, (as with my DS) if no language delay, (but maybe unusual social use of language or even no noticeable problems) then it's Aspergers Syndrome. If my DS was assessed today, age 11, and they didn't know of his delayed speech, he'd get an AS DX. So no difference at all.

graciousenid Tue 16-Aug-11 10:47:27

I agree with Ellen & Total - though various paeds seem to ignore the diagnostic criteria.

I don't know if there is any benefit to one diagnosis over the other (for access to services?) - my ds' paed only diagnoses ASD but often gives a secondary diagnosis describing greatest difficulties e.g. my ds has ASD & Language Delay, a friend's dd has ASD & Sensory Integration Difficulties.

I have two friends whose dc received late diagnosis (they've been home educated since birth so their difficulties were less acute in the early years) - one at 8yo the other at 10yo. Both were diagnosed with Asperger's despite both being non verbal at 3 years (the 10yo didn't start talking until she was 4). The paeds (different ones) felt that having good speech when they were diagnosed (despite still abnormal communication) meant AS was a better fit than HFA - which is totally not what the criteria say. I think it is pretty arbitrary despite them pretending otherwise. The younger children present the more likely they are to get HFA/ASD rather than AS im(limited)e.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 16-Aug-11 11:03:38

It's one of those things! DS2 was still non-verbal when he got his DX at 3.6 of HF ASD, so it wasn't going to be called AS then. Now at 11 he speaks well, if high pitched and sing-song and has normal IQ and copes well in MS with a Statement. Really AS is a high functioning ASD, HF ASD is an umbrella term which includes AS as a subset. It depends what you want the DX to do for you. Wrongly, HF ASD is often viewed as 'worse' than AS by the general public and even LAs, so if you want to play it down call it AS, if you want support at school call it HF ASD. Moosemama persuaded her Paed to DX HF ASD consistent with AS, which might be the most useful DX!

coppertop Tue 16-Aug-11 11:24:22

I have one with a dx of AS and one with HFA. As has been said, the main difference is language development.

Ds1 was still really just starting to use single words at age 3 so was dx'ed with HFA. Ds2 had some words by his 2nd birthday so was dx'ed AS.

The irony is that ds1's language ability is now very good, to the extent that people who didn't know him back then are surprised that he ever needed SALT. Ds2's language is still quite quirky.

Generally the same techniques work for both boys, with exceptions usually being due to personality or sensory issues. I don't think there's ever been an occasion where I've differed an approach based purely on the individual diagnosis.

If what you are doing has worked for you, I would carry on with it, regardless of whether it's HFA or AS that fits better as a diagnosis.

Marne Tue 16-Aug-11 12:27:11

I have one with AS(dd1) and one with HFA (dd2), dd2 has a language delay but we have also been told that he dx may be changed to AS if her speach sudenly improves (she's 5).

Dd1 started talking at 10 months, she's was assesed by SLT at 5 and scored at the age of a 11 year old (so deffently no problems with speach), but dd2 is 5 and scores at a 2 year old level.

coff33pot Tue 16-Aug-11 13:24:32

DS was talking at 9 months and walking before 11months. That said he would only say and EXACT word. He would not babble and would leave gaps in sentence until he could pronounce the exact word. awkward perfectionist grin

He is being assessed for AS. I have used strategies for Autism as a whole and found they benefit him and us, so I would carry on as you are doing x

SuburbanDream Tue 16-Aug-11 13:41:03

DS2 has been diagnosed with aspergers recently and I understood that the reason was that he had no delayed speech or other language issues. TBH though, I know several Aspergers children who are all very different - some more social than others, some more tantrumy, some with more fixations etc. I'm coming to realise it's not called a spectrum for nothing smile

bialystockandbloom Tue 16-Aug-11 15:15:41

My ds was diagnosed with just generic Autism Spectrum Disorder, at the age of 3.5. He had no speech delay, though certainly had and still has slightly disordered language, but his speech & language at assessment was within normal range. But still given ASD dx, not Asperger Syndrome.

I was told that AS is being phased out as a specific dx, and there will just be a generic ASD dx (or perhaps Autism for 'classic' autism). AS is on the autistic spectrum anyway, so it doesn't really make much difference. Think it's just a throwback to the early days of diagnosis, when there was a distinction made between Kanner's autism (classic autism) and Asperger.

dolfrog Tue 16-Aug-11 15:58:03

The Autism Spectrum is just that a spectrum of disorders, which is diangosed on the basic of required behavior based criteria. Current research is discussing more subtypes of ASD as the neuroimaging and gentic research begin to breakdown the barriers of understanding the underlying causes which trigger these behavior issues.
You could have a look at the following research.
Identification and Evaluation of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00: AD
Diagnostic Criteria for 299.80: Asperger's Disorder (Referred to as AS in This Report)
Diagnosis of autism (BMJ)
Clinical Review Diagnosis of autism (BMJ)
There are more ASD related research papers at CiteULike Group: Autism - library 183 articles
I hope this may help explain things

Marne Tue 16-Aug-11 16:03:30

Yes, i don't really agree with the 'spectrum', dd2 has a dx of Autism (suspected HFA) but some of her traits are severe (speach and a few sensory issues) but accademicly at school she is a year ahead with reading and maths. I would say she has severe speach and language problems but has a high functioning brain. Some days she apears HFA other days severe Autism, i can't see her ever having a AS dx.

ArthurPewty Tue 16-Aug-11 18:09:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

talktalktalk Tue 16-Aug-11 21:11:37

it's so nice to know there are so meany of you out there, it can feel like your alone going threw all this. i didn't realise there was anything rong with my son to start with,it was only at the age of 2 when it was picked up that he had o words that thing's started rolling (i just thought he was a difficalt baby.)
he was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears and it was left to see how he developed with hearing aids. now at the age of 8 it's clear he's not like other chldren. we have a statment in place at school already. i shall as you have all said carry on with the approch i have been towards his behavior. i think more than anything getting a diagnoses is more to reassure me it's not my falt!! and the more i can learn about all this then the more i can help him as he grows. thank you all for your feed back smile

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