While the DSM no longer carries Asperger’s as a diagnosis, the autistic community still identifies themselves according to the terms Asperger’s and autism separately. There is a good reason to separate the two, because they do have fundamental differences, but they also have many things in common.
Asperger’s vs. Autism: The Similarities
There are several things people with Asperger’s and people with autism have in common. The following list are the commonalities between the two disorders:
- Difficulties with identifying and expressing emotion
- Difficulties connecting with others (and making eye contact)
- Trouble reading the facial expressions and body language of others
- Unusual speech patterns or emotionless speech
- Rigidity with schedules
- Obsessions with certain topics
- Sensitivities to certain stimuli (textures, smells, etc.)
While people on the autism spectrum may disagree with lumping together Asperger’s and autism into one diagnosis, they have enough in common that it does make some sense to put them together. On the other hand, they also have many differences.
Asperger’s vs. Autism: The Differences
There are several reasons one might separate these two diagnoses. The following fundamental differences exist between the two.
- Compared to those with classic autism, people with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) often have IQs that are either above average or superior.
- Those with AS may seem a lot like any other person except for being socially awkward, while those with autism tend to stand out more.
- While those with autism have a delayed onset of language acquisition, those with AS develop typically in this area.
Another interesting fact about AS compared to autism is that more people with AS suffer from depression, likely due to their heightened awareness of their differences from neurotypical individuals. With them having a higher IQ, they are much more likely to be self-aware than those with classic autism.
So, should the AS and classic autism be separated in the DSM? I’ll let you be the judge of that.