As I write this post I am reminded of a young student we met in the audience of an Erasing the Distance performance at Dominican University last fall. During the talk back session she raised
her hand and shared that she had Aspergers, and that she identified with the struggles some of our characters had with fitting in and managing their illnesses while in College.
She explained to the audience what Aspergers is, and how it affected her. It came up that many people were confused about the relationship between Aspergers and Autism, and the young woman was able to explain it a bit that day.
Today I want to shed light on some of those differences for you.
Asperger's Syndrome is considered an Autism spectrum disorder, meaning it is on the spectrum of illnesses categorized broadly as Autism. It is often referred to as a "high functioning" form of Autism. This term, while subjective, is applied because Aspergers manifests itself very differently from 'typical' Autism. Two of the most notable differences are:
- Language development: Autistic children generally have delayed language development, some may never develop language skills at all. Children with Asperger's syndrome develop language skills on par with or even above the average of other children.
- Cognitive Abilities: Classic Autism often results in impaired cognitive functioning that does not get better as the children grow. Children with Asperger's Syndrome, by contrast, typically have normal or above average IQ's.
For more information about the similarities and differences between "classic" Autism and Asperger's Syndrome you can consult this article by Rachel Evans.
For an in-depth explanation of Asperger's Syndrome characteristics check out this page at the
Asperger's Syndrome institute website.
For more resources and information about Asperger's Syndrome you can consult these helpful sites:
- Autism Society: The nations leading grass roots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with Autism and Autism Spectrum disorders through increasing awareness, and understanding, and through advocacy work.
- Aspergersyndrome.org: "This web site provides articles, educational resources, links to local, national and international support groups, sources of professional help, lists of camps and schools, conference information, recommended reading, and moderated support message boards. The web site resources are an addition to the annual conference, newsletter email and phone support provided by MAAP Services"
- Little Friends: Little Friends is a private, non-profit organization serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities based in Naperville.
There are more beautiful sites and blogs created by individuals, families, and friends of people with Asperger's syndrome. If you have a site about this disorder, or know of a cool one that I did not include here please share the links with us in our comments section! I look forward to them.