Asperger's Disorder is a milder variation of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger's Disorder and Autistic Disorder are subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called Autistic Spectrum Disorders in most of the European countries. In the United States it is called Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by their social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are obvious impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatically correct, their speech is peculiar due to abnormal inflections and repetitive patterns. Clumsiness is prominent in their articulation and in gross motor behavior. They usually have bounded or circumscribed areas of interest that leave no space for common activities that are more appropriate for their age. Some examples of these bounded interests are cars, trains, French literature, door knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy and history. The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Autrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944.
What are the differences between Asperger's Disorder and "High Functioning (i.e. IQ>70) Autism?
It is believed that in Asperger's Disorder:
- Onset is usually later.
- Outcome is usually more positive.
- Social and communication deficiencies are less severe.
- Bounded interests are more prominent.
- Verbal IQ is usually higher than performance IQ (in autism, the case is usually the reverse)
- Clumsiness in more frequently seen.
- Family history is more frequently positive.
- Neurological disorders are less common.