What Is High Functioning Autism?

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By lio
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Autism Spectrum Disorder: MedlinePlus Genetics.' MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Aug. 2020, medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/autism-spectrum-disorder/#synonyms.
  • 2. 'Large Study Supports Discarding the Term 'High-Functioning Autism'.' Spectrum, 2 July 2019, www.spectrumnews.org/news/large-study-supports-discarding-term-high-functioning-autism/.
  • 3. Secondary Students With High-Functioning Autism, educationonline.ku.edu/community/secondary-students-with-high-functioning-autism.
  • 4. 'Autism Spectrum Disorder.' Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928.
  • 5. Morie, Kristen P, et al. 'Mood Disorders in High-Functioning Autism: The Importance of Alexithymia and Emotional Regulation.' Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375152/.
  • 6. O'Neal, Susan Moreno and Carol. 'Tips for Teaching High-Functioning People with Autism.' Indiana Resource Center for Autism, www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/articles/tips-for-teaching-high-functioning-people-with-autism.html.
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex condition affecting 1 in 68 children. Autistic people can experience disabilities and difficulties socially, behaviorally and intellectually. Symptoms vary widely among individuals, both in the types of symptoms and their intensity.1‘Autism Spectrum Disorder: MedlinePlus Genetics.’ MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Aug. 2020, medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/autism-spectrum-disorder/#synonyms.

High functioning autism is not a formal medical diagnosis. It's a term used to describe autistic people who have fewer obvious language and intellectual disabilities and symptoms that are often less intense.3Secondary Students With High-Functioning Autism, educationonline.ku.edu/community/secondary-students-with-high-functioning-autism. There are controversies around the term, with some scholars and autistic advocates calling for it to be retired. But there are unique experiences that affect people on this part of the spectrum.2‘Large Study Supports Discarding the Term ‘High-Functioning Autism’.’ Spectrum, 2 July 2019, www.spectrumnews.org/news/large-study-supports-discarding-term-high-functioning-autism/.

1. What Does Autism Mean?

The way autism affects a person varies. Most autistic people have some combination of impaired social skills, communication problems and repetitive behaviors. They may struggle to understand nonverbal social cues like tone or facial expression. They may use odd, repetitive gestures or have odd, repetitive conversations. They may also struggle with sensory input or changes in routine.1‘Autism Spectrum Disorder: MedlinePlus Genetics.’ MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Aug. 2020, medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/autism-spectrum-disorder/#synonyms.

Some autistic people have profound communication, intellectual and behavioral difficulties, while others may not even be recognized as autistic. But all autistic people, regardless of their assumed place on the spectrum, have their own needs and abilities.3Secondary Students With High-Functioning Autism, educationonline.ku.edu/community/secondary-students-with-high-functioning-autism.

Autism

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