The UK still recognises several types of Autism which are seen across a ‘spectrum’ – characteristics of the types vary in the severity and impact they have on the individual’s life.
Those with classic autism may display some of the most severe symptoms and are likely to have received a diagnosis in childhood.
Classic Autism symptoms include:
In America, ‘Asperger’s’ is no longer a separate classification, a decision made both to simplify the classification of Autism and because of the recognition that the symptoms of autism are often not clearly defined across the spectrum and there is much overlap.
The UK still uses the separate classifications, but as the manual used in the UK (ICD-10) is often led by America’s DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) we may see changes to the terminology at some stage.
Often people with Asperger’s have milder Autism symptoms and normal or above normal intelligence. People with Asperger’s typically did not have language delays as a child or intellectual disabilities but may have struggled with co-ordination and fine motor skills.
The triad of impairments are very commonly experienced by those with Asperger’s. Signs of Autism commonly experienced by those with Asperger’s syndrome include:
High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s are very closely linked, in fact some argue they are one and the same thing and the terms can confusingly be used interchangeably. It was often thought that the difference between the two was based on language development but even that is debated. As more research is carried out into Autism spectrum disorders, classifications will hopefully become less debatable and less confusing for those with the condition.
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People with PDD (NOS) often experience more severe symptoms than those with Asperger’s but less severe than those with classic Autism.
The term PDD (NOS) is often used for those people who have some, but not all, of the symptoms of Autism or Asperger’s, for instance difficulties with social communication and interaction but no obsessive interests.