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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

All these terminologies boggle me.

(16 Posts)
5inthebed Mon 12-Jan-09 22:03:55

Sorry if this seems a bit thick...but before I came onto this board, I always just thought my son has autism. But since coming here, I've heard so many different terminologies being used, and tbh, I'm slightly confused by them all, and not sure where my son actually is. Can anyone answer me these two questions? Thanks in advance

Is there a difference between being autistic and being ASD, or are they the same?

And what is HFA and LFA? Is HFA a child that is mildly autistic and LFA the opposite?

Been meaning to ask this for weeks, so excuse me if it seems to come out of nowhere.

daisy5678 Mon 12-Jan-09 22:11:45

ASD is used to mean the whole spectrum normally. Just autistic spectrum disorder - a broad umbrella term. Seems to include AS (Aspergers syndrome) too.

Autism is used in some tests to describe the more severely affected end of the spectrum, the ones who are most pervasively affected by the triad of impairments.

High-functioning means that they function better in areas like language, learning and self-care and are usually less affected by learning difficulties. Low functioning might be non-verbal, have self-care problems.

The difference between AS and HFA seems to vary from area to area BUT the AS dx is only supposed to be used if there was no language delay before age 3 OR significant problems with self-care skills. J had no language problems BUT was still unable to wash, toilet or dress independently at 5, so got an autism dx, not AS, despite being bright.

Here, locally, they see AS as mild with autism at the severe end. ASD, here, is the thing in the middle. Very confusing for everyone!

cherrymonster Mon 12-Jan-09 22:23:09

givememoresleep- does that mean my ds2 might be asd? he had fantastic verbal skills and could hold a conversation by about 18 months- but has learning difficulties- mostly fine motor skills and coordination, limited social abilities and a lot of problems with personal care. he toilets by himself but still needs help with dressing and bathing and cleaning teeth, also has problems using cutlery. he is nearly 8 by the way.

5inthebed Mon 12-Jan-09 22:31:21

Well ds was given a dx of autism last year, had very poor language/verbal skills, practically non.

Not sure if he would be classed as HFA or LFA though. Its all very confusing [confused emoticon]

5inthebed Mon 12-Jan-09 22:32:00

And thank you for the explaination!

daisy5678 Tue 13-Jan-09 00:19:18

Cherrymonster - I think ASD is a catch-all dx for anyone on the spectrum in most cases.

It's all J was dx'd with until the consultant was pressed (by me, school or DLA people, can't remember which - probably a combination) to give a more precise label. I figured Aspergers cos he's bright and no language delay, but she said his ADOS test was so severe and his behaviour is so severe and, like I say, the self-care thing, meant that autism was the dx. Still wouldn't say HF or LF but I took it as read that he was HF, really, because he is average or above in most things. Just social skills, behaviour and self-care ('just' hmm ) where he really stands out from other kids his age. Massively sad

5inthebed - you're welcome!

Widemouthfrog Tue 13-Jan-09 13:14:11

I pressed my paediatrrician on an 'autism' diagnosis because my DS is very verbal, and I felt more aspergers like. I was told that because he had some language issues, and has very obvious flapping and sensory seeking behaviour then an autism diagnosis was more appropriate. I assume he is high functioning as he is bright and doing well in mainstream school (with support).

Clear as mud!

notfromaroundhere Tue 13-Jan-09 13:23:34

I am quite confused by it all too! When I was given the DX for DS1 the Consultant Paediatrician said it was Autism Spectrum Disorder and they reserve the term of autistic to those profoundly affected.

The Paed made no mention of where DS1 fell on the spectrum but I expect this is due to his age as at 3.3 it isn't possible to predict how he may progress. I am still waiting for the full report though.

coppertop Tue 13-Jan-09 14:17:08

It can be very confusing.

Ds1 has a dx of HFA as he was a late talker.

Ds2 was given a dx of AS because he was able to speak before the age of 2yrs.

Fast-forward a few years and it's actually ds2 who has the language difficulties and who still sees the SALT. Ds1's language skills developed very quickly and are now actually very good for a child of his age.

To further add to the confusion, ds2's reports from the Paed now state that he has PDD and that this is part of the autistic spectrum.

magso Tue 13-Jan-09 16:27:03

I too find the differences in phrasiology confusing. There seems to be a lot of crossover - in terminology. Even the paed has written ASD in one report and autism in another. Ds had ADHD and then learning disabilty diagnosed before his autism. I have been told nothing further but think of him as somewhere in the middle - he is not profoundly autistic but nor is he high functioning. Is there a phrase that covers that I wonder? His speech (very late developing) is like that of a very young child and is difficult both for him to use and others to follow. He has compusive behavior and sensory issues but an excellent memory for things that interest him and sense of direction.

Blossomhill Tue 13-Jan-09 16:34:00

Magso I have friends whose children are moderately autistic, do you think this would apply to your ds (and this is what the pros use too)?

BriocheDoree Tue 13-Jan-09 17:02:57

Try living abroad...it all changes again! DD has a pervasive neurodevelopmental delay with social communication problems and specific receptive-expressive language impairment...(or, at least, that's my best translation).
They only use "autistic" here for "classic" autism. Otherwise they talk about "pervasive development delay" but the term doesn't mean exactly the same as it does in the states. Given how broad the spectrum and how many crossovers (ASD/language disorder being an obvious one) I can see why many people get confused!

daisy5678 Tue 13-Jan-09 17:29:50

Magso...let's go for MFA - mid/ moderate functioning. Hey, if they can make it up, so can we!

cherrymonster Tue 13-Jan-09 17:34:37

well i have been told that ds2 has dyspraxia but to be fair im not totally sure whta it means. all i do know is that apparently one of the mian pointers is complete lack of balance and that most dyspraxic (sp) children do not learn to ride a bike until really late- he has been riding a bike without stabilisers since he was 5. not sure if it is more a case of autistim spectrum.

BriocheDoree Tue 13-Jan-09 18:15:55

Hmm, yes, and I'd love to know why DD can draw, paint, thread beads...but can't eat using cutlery! (And can't ride a bike, for that matter!)

magso Tue 13-Jan-09 18:58:23

Blossom I did not know there was such a phrase but I guess it would fit the bill. Many of the children in his sn school are classed as having severe autism (they were diagnosed before 5 so got graded) -ds seems less able in many ways but is slightly more able to cope socially ie he needs company.

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