What is high-functioning autistic?
High-functioning autistic is not a medical diagnosis. It is often used to describe autistic individuals who are able to read, write, and speak without any assistance.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty with communication and social interaction. While some autistic individuals require minimal support, others need substantial support every day. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name of autism.
People with high-functioning autism are often referred to as those who have lower support needs. Continue reading to find out more.
What is high-functioning autism and Asperger’s?
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), was released. The DSM was originally designed to describe Asperger’s syndrome, but it was not updated since 2013.
Although Asperger’s Syndrome patients had many symptoms in common with autistic individuals, they did not have any delays in their diagnosis.
- Language use
- cognitive development
- The development of age-appropriate self help skills
- The development of adaptive behavior
- The development of curiosity about their environment
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They often had milder symptoms and were less likely to have an impact on their daily lives than autistic people. They could even be considered “high-functioning.”
High-functioning autism was never a clinical diagnosis. Asperger’s Syndrome was also removed from the DSM-5.
ASD is a diagnosis that identifies people who exhibit repetitive or restrictive behaviors, or have difficulty with social interaction or communication. It doesn’t matter how much support they might need.
What levels are there of ASD?
- ASD can be divided into three levels
- Level 1. Level 1. When people refer to high-functioning autism and Asperger’s, this is what they mean.
- Level 2. Level 2. Speech therapy and social skills training are two examples of outside support.
- Level 3. Level 3. Support may include intensive therapy or full-time aides in some cases.
How are ASD levels calculated?
Although it is difficult to determine an individual’s ASD level by hand, trained psychologists can use tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Opinion Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-22). This assessment is often paired with a detailed developmental history.
ASD can be diagnosed at as young as 18 months. Many children and adults may not be diagnosed with ASD until later in life.
Support can be more difficult if the diagnosis is made too late. Consider making an appointment with an ASD specialist if you think your child may be autistic. Find out more about ASD testing.
There are no standard recommendations for ASD levels. Support depends on each person’s unique symptoms.
Different levels of ASD might not require the same support. However, those with level 2 and 3 ASD will need more intensive, long-term support.
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Possible ASD support includes:
Speech therapy. ASD can lead to a range of speech problems. One autistic person might be unable to speak, while another might struggle to engage in conversation with others. Speech therapy can address many speech disorders. Find out more about speech disorders.
Physical therapy. Many autistic individuals have difficulty with motor skills. It can make it difficult to perform tasks such as running, jumping, and walking. Physical therapy can strengthen muscles and improve motor skills.
Occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is a way to improve your hand, leg, and other body functions. This can make your daily tasks and work easier.
Sensory training. People with autism are sensitive to sound, light, and touch. Sensory training can help people feel more comfortable with sensory input.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA). This technique encourages positive and helpful behavior while decreasing those that hinder functionality. Although there are many types of applied behavior analysis (ABA), most employ a reward system.
Medication. Although there are no medications that can treat ASD, some medications may be helpful in managing certain symptoms such as depression and emotional lability.
What is the bottom line?
High-functioning Autism is not a medical term and doesn’t have a clear definition.
This term is most likely used to refer to ASD level 1. It could also refer to Asperger’s syndrome which is not yet recognized by the APA.
A specialist should be consulted if you suspect that your child or you have ASD symptoms. Another great resource for support is blogs.