Asperger's and Autism: The difference

Asperger‘s is one of the five Pervasive Developmental Disorders on the autistic spectrum. As defined by the Autism Society Of America (ASA): “Both children and adults with Autism typical[y show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities". Though the broad definition is the same, these traits are more pronounced in Autism. 

They are also joined by symptoms such as a lack of language, inappropriate attachments to objects, very inappropriate emotional displays, repetitive movements, no fear of danger and over- or under-sensitivity to pain. Those with Asperger's Syndrome are usually of average or above average intelligence, according to the UK`s Asperger's Syndrorne Foundation. Therefore, while Asperger's often goes undiagnosed, Autism typically becomes obvious during the first three years of life.

Some people Iive quite happily without a formal diagnosis. However, there are a lot of people who feel the need for one and many who want help to "fît in" with society. I tried many times to got help for my social difficulties, but every professional person I turned to could never see the problem. They always insisted that l just suffered from low self-esteem. which is far from true! 

Doctors' inability to recognise Asperger's seems to be a frequent problem for higher-functioning Aspies, especially female ones. According to The Sunday Times (February 6, 2010) autism and related conditions are being under-diagnosed in women and teenage girls. Females are usually better at masking the symptoms, such as difficulties with language, and better able to compensate for their problems. However, non-diagnosis can lead to a life of preventable isolation, low self-esteem and even suicide. Al the moment, it is very difficult for a high-functioning adult to get a diagnosis. One criterion often used for refusing a diagnostic test is having an IQ above 70. Yet one of the criteria for Aspies is an IQ of normal or above! 

However, things are changing. In December 2010, the UK Government published statutory guidance for local authorities, setting out the 
legal obligation to ensure they meet the needs of people on the autistic spectrum in England. lt states that people can no longer be denied an assessment solely based on their IQ and that there must be a clear pathway to diagnosis. This is due to come into force in 2013.

What is PDD-NOS?

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is one of four autistic disorders. The two characteristics of PDD-NOS are difficulties with social interaction and relationships. Aspergers is a Triad of Impairments which includes PDD-NOS, in addition to lack of imagination and creative play. See Aspie Test for more details.