Education break #3:
What distinguishes Asperger’s Disorder from Autism is the severity of the symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may be only mildly affected and frequently have good language and cognitive skills. Speech may be formal and too loud or high pitched. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may not understand the subtleties of language, such as irony and humor, or may not understand the give and take nature of a conversation. To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger’s Disorder may just seem different. Children with Autism are frequently seen as aloof and uninterested in others. This is not the case with Asperger’s Disorder. Individuals with Asperger’s Disorder usually want to fit in and have interaction with others; they simply don’t know how to do it. They may be socially awkward, not understanding conventional social rules, or may show a lack of empathy. They may have limited eye contact, seem to be unengaged in a conversation, and not understand the use of gestures. Interests in a particular subject may border on the obsessive. Another distinction between Asperger’s Disorder and Autism concerns cognitive ability. While some individuals with Autism experience mental retardation, by definition a person with Asperger’s Disorder cannot possess a “clinically significant” cognitive delay. This does not imply that all individuals with autism have mental retardation. Some do and some do not, but a person with Asperger’s Disorder possesses average to above average intelligence.  While motor difficulties are not specific criteria for Asperger’s, children with Asperger’s Disorder frequently have motor skill delays and may appear clumsy or awkward.

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