One of the variety of disorders that are part of the Autism family, is Asperger’s Syndrome.
Note that there is a difference in High Functioning Autism and High Functioning Asperger’s. Children with Asperger’s, especially those that are High Functioning, are not what many would think of when they think of an autistic child. To the untrained eye High Functioning Asperger’s (HFA) may just seem like eccentric, weird, or completely lacking in social graces.
A diagnosis of HFA may explain things that you though were just unexplainable. There are programs to help HFA’s deal with social interactions and issues they will face. The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation has a discussion forum, – that has a listing on experts and grad students of all levels of experience that can help.
Here is an extended quote about Asperger’s Syndrome from Yale Medical School:
Autism is the most widely recognized pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Other diagnostic concepts with features somewhat similar to autism have been less intensively studied, and their validity, apart from autism, is more controversial. One of these conditions, termed Asperger syndrome (AS) was originally described by Hans Asperger (1944, see Frith’s translation, 1991), who provided an account of a number of cases whose clinical features resembled Kanner’s (1943) description of autism (e.g., problems with social interaction and communication, and circumscribed and idiosyncratic patterns of interest). However, Asperger’s description differed from Kanner’s in that speech was less commonly delayed, motor deficits were more common, the onset appeared to be somewhat later, and all the initial cases occurred only in boys. Asperger also suggested that similar problems could be observed in family members, particularly fathers.
This syndrome was essentially unknown in the English literature for many years. An influential review and series of case reports by Lorna Wing (1981) increased interest in the condition, and since then both the usage of the term in clinical practice and number of case reports and research studies have been steadily increasing. The commonly described clinical features of the syndrome include:
- paucity of empathy;
- naive, inappropriate, one-sided social interaction, little ability to form friendships and consequent social isolation;
- pedantic and monotonic speech;
- poor nonverbal communication;
- intense absorption in circumscribed topics such as the weather, facts about TV stations, railway tables or maps, which are learned in rote fashion and reflect poor understanding, conveying the impression of eccentricity; and
- clumsy and ill-coordinated movements and odd posture.
Although Asperger originally reported the condition only in boys, reports of girls with the syndrome have now appeared. Nevertheless, boys are significantly more likely to be affected. Although most children with the condition function in the normal range of intelligence, some have been reported to be mildly retarded. The apparent onset of the condition, or at least its recognition, is probably somewhat later than autism; this may reflect the more preserved language and cognitive abilities. It tends to be highly stable, and the higher intellectual skills observed suggest a better long-term outcome than is typically observed in autism.
Update: Thanks to Arron for noting the misspelling. I thought something seemed wrong, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it… I’ve updated the links to point to other sites. The original link for HFA classes is here .