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What Is High Functioning Autism

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Levels Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is High Functioning Autism? | Kati Morton

Autism spectrum disorder is divided into three levels:

  • Level 1: Symptoms experienced at this level do not interfere too much with school, work, or relationships. This is what people refer to as Aspergerâs syndrome or high-functioning autism.
  • Level 2: At this level, there is a need for some external support. Examples include social skills training and speech therapy.
  • Level 3: People at this level require substantial external support regularly. In some cases, the support may include intensive therapy or full-time aides.

High Functioning Autism Symptoms

  • Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
  • Linguistic Oddities
  • Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
  • Dislike of Change
  • Focus on Self
  • Unusual Movement Patterns

Diagnosis rates for autism continue to rise, especially as parents and professionals become more familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism. Many patients are getting the assistance they need to live full, productive lives because their unusual behaviors are no longer seen as simple social awkwardness or eccentricity. As more caring medical and mental health professionals learn to recognize the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to people with autism will rise.

Tip : Better Organize Your Life

While many adults with ASD are extremely organized, others may become so fixated on certain interests that other aspects of their lives become disorganized. If this is a challenge you face, these tips can help you stay organized:

Use a timer to stay on track. This can be especially useful when youre working on a hobby that youre intensely passionate about. Once the timer goes off, you know its time to switch to an activity that is less intriguing, but nonetheless important, such as paying bills or grocery shopping.

Use a list or day planner. If remembering appointments and other responsibilities is a challenge, use a paper planner or an organizational app for your cell phone. You could also use anything from spreadsheets to a whiteboard to help you organize daily tasks.

Automate certain aspects of your life. For example, use online banking to track spending and automatic payment options to manage your bills. This can also help you avoid the clutter that tends to build up when you receive paper billing statements in the mail.

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Criticism Of Functioning Labels

Many medical professionals, autistic people, and supporters of autistic rights disagree with the categorisation of individuals into “high-functioning autism” and “low-functioning autism”, stating that the “low-functioning” label causes people to put low expectations on a child and view them as lesser. Furthermore, critics of functioning labels state that an individual’s functioning can fluctuate from day to day, and categories do not take this into consideration. Levels of functioning are unrelated to intellectual disability. Additionally, individuals with “medium-functioning autism” are typically left out of the discussion entirely, and due to the non-linear nature of the autistic spectrum, individuals can be high-functioning in some areas while at the same time being medium or low functioning in other areas.

Differences Between Aspergers Syndrome & High

High functioning autism

Although individuals with Asperger’s tend to perform better cognitively than those with autism, the extent of the overlap between Asperger’s and high-functioning autism is unclear.

A neuropsychological profile has been proposed for Aspergers syndrome if verified, it could differentiate between Aspergers syndrome and high-functioning autism and aid in differential diagnosis. Relative to high-functioning autism, people with Aspergers syndrome have deficits in nonverbal skills such as visual-spatial problem solving and visual-motor coordination, along with stronger verbal abilities. Several studies have found Aspergers syndrome with a neuropsychologic profile of assets and deficits consistent with a nonverbal learning disability, but several other studies have failed to replicate this. The literature review did not reveal consistent findings of “nonverbal weaknesses or increased spatial or motor problems relative to individuals with high-functioning autism”, leading some researchers to argue that increased cognitive ability is evidenced in Aspergers syndrome relative to high-functioning autism regardless of differences in verbal and nonverbal ability.

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Do Autistic Toddlers Watch Tv

Kids with autism are more predisposed to watch screens, he explained. Kids with autism symptoms may use screens as a soothing device, instead of turning to a parent. That may lead a parent to engage less than they would otherwise like to, Bennett explained. The study was published online April 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.

What Does High Functioning Mean

So, what does it mean if you are autistic and “high functioning?” It depends. Typically, if someone is diagnosed with ASD: Level 1, they are considered “high functioning.” However, someone’s social skills might be Level 1, and their behavioral issues might be Level 2.

Furthermore, although autism is a lifelong diagnosis that an individual does not “grow out of,” an individual might experience autistic burnout, a condition that causes increased functional deficits.

Factors that contribute to labeling an autistic person as “high-functioning” include how well they are able to hold a job, form and maintain relationships, communicate, and mask their autistic traits. Essentially, the better someone can blend in with a neurotypical society, the higher functioning they are. Because of this, many high functioning autistic people do not get diagnosed until later in life.

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Fixation On Particular Subjects Or Ideas

Continually discussing the same topics in conversation, obsessively playing the same song repeatedly, or reading every article written about a certain topic are some ways that autistic fixations can manifest. These interests can be negative if they take over the individuals life or interfere with their relationships with others. Of course, these obsessive tendencies can also be helpful Dan Aykroyd, writer and star in the hit film Ghostbusters, was inspired by his focus on ghosts and the paranormal. Many other high-functioning autistic individuals have used their focus on mathematics, biology, or writing to inspire successful careers.

Tips And Reminders For Autism

Whats it Like to Have High Functioning Autism? Autistic Adult
  • Autism is a spectrum of at least eight dimensions, not a linear dimension from low to high functioning.
  • Autism on its own is a difference, not a disability.
  • Most autistic people prefer autism first language, or the term neurodiverse.
  • Approach an autistic person with respect for who they are and how they are in the World. Different is valid, diversity is needed.
  • The best two interventions for autism are knowledge and attitude.

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Resources For Autistic Children 8

For Parents:

Teach your autistic child to understand how like and love is expressed in the family and with friends to set them on a course of better relationships through life.

Attwood, T. & Garnett, M.S. . From Like to Love: Teaching Affection to Children on the Autism Spectrum. JKP: London.

For Professionals:

Within this book is a 6-session programme that can be run with an autistic child or group of children to demystify the social and emotional expressions of liking and love that strengthen human relationships, but cause so much confusion for autistic children. The programme can be run by a psychologist, social worker, speech pathologist, occupational therapist or counsellor.

Attwood, T. & Garnett, M.S. . Learning How to Express Affection: A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Programme for Teaching Affection to Children on the Autism Spectrum. JKP: London.

For Parents and Professionals:

Our autistic children can experience very strong emotions such as anxiety and anger that can increase their own suffering and the suffering of people around them. Strong expressions of anger and anxiety can lead to exclusion from meaningful activities such as school, family and community activities. These two programmes were developed to assist a parent or health professional teach an autistic child how to understand and manage their strong feelings of anger and anxiety.

Attwood, T. Exploring Feelings: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Manage Anger. Arlington, TX. Future Horizons.

For Professionals:

Treatment For Autism In Little Rock

If you or your childs doctor are concerned about the presence of any of these symptoms or your child has been diagnosed with autism, Integrity, Inc. can help you find support services for children experiencing autism in Little Rock. Visit Integrity Inc. online or call us at 406-0442 to learn more. We can provide information about what autism is and how your child can lead a normal life.

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What Is Problematic About The Term High Functioning Autism

Using the term high functioning autism implies that there is a linear scale of autism from low functioning to high functioning. Thinking of autism in such a linear way discounts the multiple gifts and challenges that come along with autism.

Rather than existing on a single continuum or dimension, autism is part of the persons functioning on at least eight dimensions, including their social communication skills, interests, thinking style, behavioural repertoire, motor skills, executive functioning, adaptive functioning, language profile and personality. Thus, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition now refers to autism as a spectrum disorder.

A spectrum is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as a rainbow, each colour defined by different degrees of refraction of light according to wavelength. We can usefully apply this definition to autism by understanding each dimension of autism as being an expression of the persons different neurology.

In addition, the persons level of difficulty in functioning on each dimension can be described in terms of severity. For example, DSM5 now describes two dimensions of autism, social communication skills, and another dimension they call rigid and repetitive behaviours . RRBs includes different motor movements , rigid thinking or interests, need for routine and consistency and a different sensory profile. DSM5 designates three levels from Level 1, least affected to Level 3, severely affected.

Development Of Repetitive Or Restrictive Habits

High functioning autism

Repetitive habits are another sign of high-functioning autism. Those habits could interfere with the persons ability to do what they need to do or what others want them to do. One type of repetitive habit might be related to movement. The individual might have to tie and untie their shoes multiple times before they are satisfied and are able to start walking or leave the house. Some people develop restrictive habits that interfere with socially accepted living. For example, an individual might refuse to wear any other kind of shirt than a tee shirt. This could impact their health and well-being if they live in a place with cold weather.

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Signs Of High Functioning Autism

There are certain behavioral characteristics that are consistent in individuals with high functioning autism. They obviously have to meet the criteria for autism, but here are some more specific descriptions of the behavioral involvement:

  • Routine based – although routines are good for all kids, those with high functioning autism can be so attached to some routines or rituals that they cannot tolerate stopping them. There is often frustration and meltdown in the individual when there is a deviation from the routine.

  • Language difficulty one of the inclusion criteria of autism is a developmental language delay by the age of 3. Most children with high functioning autism have difficulty understanding language even as they get older and complete work in literacy around metaphors, figures of speech, irony, humor, and sarcasm. They can be very literal in their comprehension of others, black and white in their understanding.

  • Social delays those with high functioning autism have social desire, they want to interact with others but do not know how to use appropriate social skills. They might do things that are atypical or even offensive in their attempt to connect with others. They struggle reading social cues or responding from social feedback to adapt their behavior. Children with high functioning autism also struggle reading body language and can display their emotions inappropriately.

Does Autism Come From The Mother Or Father

Clues to the first two questions come from studies that have shown that at least 30% of individuals with autism have spontaneous de novo mutations that occurred in the fathers sperm or mothers egg and disrupt genes important for brain development, these spontaneous mutations likely cause autism in families where

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Inflexibility Signs Of Autism In Children

Autistic children are often restricted in their behaviors and movements. They are inflexible, and even obsessive in terms of their activities, behaviors and interests.

  • Inflexibility, to an extent, can be an indication of ASD. The following are the signs of inflexibility
  • Strict routines â insisting on taking the same route to school every day
  • Limited topic of interest â memorizing the train schedules
  • Repeating the same actions âflapping hands, rocking back and forth these are also known as stimming, self stimulatory behavior
  • Unusual attachments to objects â obsessively lining the trucks or arranging them in a certain order
  • Difficulty in adapting to change â getting upset when their routines are interrupted

What Are The Symptoms Of Autism

High Functioning Autism: (What YOU NEED to Know)

Autism symptoms usually appear in early childhood, before the age of 2. For example, infants may not make eye contact. In some cases, they might show indifference toward their parents.

Around age 2, they may start to show signs of aggression, fail to respond to their name, or start taking steps backward in their language development.

Still, autism is a spectrum disorder, and not all children with autism display these symptoms. Generally, though, autism symptoms tend to involve problems with social interactions and behavioral patterns.

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Problems Processing Physical Sensations

Many individuals with autism have sensory difficulties. They may find specific noises, tastes, smells, or feelings intolerable. Noisy public places can lead to emotional distress, as can uncomfortable clothing or unwanted touches. These issues can be disruptive and stressful, but according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism symptoms can improve over time as children with mild autism learn to regulate their own behavior through work with professionals.

What Is The Proper Way To Describe Support Needs

Outline the support needs directly. Do not categorize an entire person as being simply one of two ends of a spectrum.Low functioning -> High support needs in area XYZ

High functioning -> Low support needs in area XYZ

Outlining support needs, rather than functioning labels gives us the information we need to make an actionable plan while avoiding stigmatizing language or shaming children. Support needs detail for the adults caring for these children exactly how they can best be supported. For example, saying a child is low functioning doesnt offer any insight into potential goals for that person.

However, saying a child has high support needs in self-care skills and communication points out where advocacy is necessary, how to provide accommodations for, and equips support personnel with actionable information to best help that child.

In addition to dropping functioning labels for a support needs-based conversation, I suggest trying to sandwich any struggles with positive, celebratory comments.

This is John. He is low functioning autistic. -> This is John, he is autistic. He is incredibly talented with art. John has high support needs in communication, so we are using Proloquo and some ASL signs. He both excels at, and finds joy in, fine motor physical skills such as drawing and painting.


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What Are The Levels Of Asd

ASD is divided into three levels:

  • Level 1. People at this level may have symptoms that dont interfere too much with their work, school, or relationships. This is what most people are referring to when they use the terms high-functioning autism or Aspergers syndrome.
  • Level 2. People at this level require some outside support on a daily basis. Examples of outside support include speech therapy and social skills training.
  • Level 3. People at this level require substantial outside support on a daily basis. In some cases, support may include full-time aides or intensive therapy.

Resources For Autistic Children 4


For Parents and Professionals:

Fun with Feelings a two book combination that teaches parents to help their autistic child to manage their anxiety and anger from a very young age to prevent mental health problems later in life.

Garnett, M. S., Attwood T., Ford, L., Runham S. and Cook J.. Having Fun with Feelings on the Autism Spectrum: A CBT Activity Book for Kids Age 4-8. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Garnett, M. S., Attwood T., Ford, L., Runham S. and Cook J.. Ten Steps to Reducing Your Childs Anxiety on the Autism Spectrum: The CBT-based Fun with Feelings Parent Manual. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

The online course for Fun with Feelings:

During this 5.5 hour course Tony and Michelle describe how to use the Fun with Feelings course with your child for the best outcomes for your whole family.

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Autistic People May Act In A Different Way To Other People

Autistic people may:

  • find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
  • find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
  • find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
  • get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
  • take longer to understand information
  • do or think the same things over and over

If you think you or your child may be autistic, get advice about the signs of autism.

Inflexibility And/or A Desire For Control

People with high functioning autism tend to have a very strong need for control over things in their life. In other words, their thinking process is often restrictive. So, their mind doesnt offer any flexibility on how things should happen. Thats why youll notice that they display rigid behavior patterns.

Even small irritations or slight changes can make it difficult for them to cope or concentrate. Until these irritants are resolved, they have a hard time moving on to something else. Examples include not finding the right pair of socks or the buzzing from a light bulb.

Stressors are extremely distracting and lead the autistic person to control their environment.

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What Are The Causes Of Asd

We do not know what causes ASD. There is old, outdated information that vaccines cause autism. They do not. There are a lot of different theories and speculations- some genetics, some environmental, some biological.

Research is being conducted because the cases of autism continue to rise. What we do know is that there are differences in brain structures between those with autism and those without the developmental disorder. These differences are largely in those areas of the brain responsible for socialization: the amygdala, superior temporal sulcus, fusiform gyrus, and orbitofrontal cortex.

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