What are the Different Forms of Autisim

There are many different types of autisim, and just as with many things you can't just group all Autistic people into one category. Autisim range of symptoms covers a very large field.  It will include autistics who are very near to being dysfunctional and appear to be mentally retarded, to the autistic who shows very mild symptoms, or who has received therapy to control their autistic traits to the point of appearing to be normal to the average person.

Autistic persons will be often categorized between those who have an IQ of less than 80 being categorized as having what is called "low-functioning autism", while the autistic person who's IQ is higher than 80 are categorized as having what would be called "high-functioning autism". This method of categorization is not usually accepted or used by medical professionals when dealing with the autistic person.  Normally the terms high or low high functioning autisim are used to describe the level at which the autistic person can perform the daily activities that are a part of living, and related to their IQ level. Within the Autistic community the use of the labels, high functioning autisim, and low functioning autisim, are seen to be highly controversial by many autistics.

Many service providers who serve the autistic community still rely to heavily on a person's IQ, with the ability to function on a daily basis may not work with autistic people who test at a high IQ level, or in the case of a person with a low IQ level fail to acknowledge the potential of many of the autistic people who are diagnosed as having low functioning autisim. With all the information about autisim which is available it is hard to believe, but some within the medical profession still will not recognize autistics who can write or speak as suffering from autisim at all.

This all leads to many with high functioning autisim, as well as the autistic person who has a fairly normal IQ, being left undiagnosed.  This furthers the idea that autisim automatically implies mental retardation. Even having said this it should be noted that the number of diagnoses for high functioning autisim are now showing a sharper rise, than those for low functioning autisim.  One reason for this may be due to better diagnostic testing for autisim. 

Asperger's Syndrome and Kanner's Syndrome

In the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders the biggest difference when comparing Autistic Disorder (Kanner's) and Asperger's Syndrome would be that a Autistic Disorder will include; observed delays or even abnormal levels in at least one and maybe more of the following areas, normally the onset of symptoms of autisim will be before the age 3 years old: The first would be in the area of social interaction, second would be problems with language as used in social settings, or the third area would be in symbolic or imaginative play that would not be considered to be a normal level for the average child.  While in Asperger's Syndrome there would only be a slight, to no observed delay noticed.

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not really include levels of intellectual function for the diagnosing of Asperger's Syndrome, it is a proven statistical fact that those person's who do have Asperger's Syndrome will as a general rule will tend to out perform those autistics with Kanner's Autisim or Low Functioning Autisim this has led to a popular idea that Asperger's Syndrome can be thought of as being synonymous with high functioning autisim, or that it could be considered as a totally separate disorder from autisim. A popular belief is that those autistic individuals who have a higher level of intellectual function do in fact actually have Asperger's Syndrome.

Autisim as a spectrum disorder

Autisim disorders also come under the heading of autistic spectrum disorders. A closely related disorder would be, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, which would involve just how well a person is able to use the information that they receive from their senses. Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Autism, as well as Asperger's Syndrome, have been found to be closely related and in many cases have been found to overlap each other.

While still subject to much debate, there are some people who believe that there might be two separate scenarios for the timeline for the onset of regular autisim, these would be early infantile autisim and regressive autisim. Early infantile autisim would be present at the time of childbirth, and regressive autisim would begin between the ages of 18 months and 36 months.

For more information about autism and the autistic community be sure to check out the resources available at answers-about-autism.

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