High- and Low-Functioning Asperger’s Explained

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Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. This means it can be difficult to communicate with others and understand social cues, but that doesn’t mean those struggling with Asperger’s are limited in how they interact or what they can do.

High-functioning asperger’s is a term that has been used to describe people who have mild symptoms of the condition. Low-functioning asperger’s is when the symptoms are more severe and require more support. Read more in detail here: what are the symptoms of high-functioning asperger’s.


People with Asperger’s syndrome may have been labeled as high-functioning or low-functioning in the past. However, Asperger’s syndrome is no longer considered a separate diagnosis. What was formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome is now known as autism.

Meeting one individual with autism is believed to be equivalent to comprehending just one form of autism. Each individual has unique symptoms that distinguish them from the others.

Outward signs may not be present in someone with a high-functioning type of autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Someone with a poor level of functioning may exhibit more.

Therapy may benefit you no matter where you fall on this spectrum. However, the kind you’ll require is determined by the symptoms you’re experiencing and how much they’re affecting your life.

What Is the Importance of a Diagnosis?

High-functioning autism is often connected with Asperger’s syndrome. People with classic Asperger’s symptoms may sometimes blend in with their classmates. It might be difficult to identify whether someone with Asperger’s syndrome has autism or is merely eccentric.

Looking for an autism diagnosis may not make sense for some families. They would rather highlight a person’s commonalities than than their differences.

A diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s syndrome may have a number of advantages, including:

  • Inclusion. A diagnosis may aid in gaining a better grasp of a person’s pReferences and habits. Sharing this information may result in less prejudice and quick decisions.
  • Benefits. Low-functioning autism patients may be eligible for special services at school, at home, or both. They could also be able to acquire insurance approval to engage in approved therapy.
  • Community. Autism-aware families are better equipped to provide effective support and care. That degree of comprehension is only attainable because of a diagnosis.

Observations, questionnaires, and tests are used to diagnose autism. Although Asperger’s syndrome may be accurately diagnosed in children as young as three years old, some individuals do not learn they have it until they are adults.

Asperger’s: Breaking Down High-Functioning & Low-Functioning Terms

It’s vital to remember that during a diagnostic interview, no clinician will mention the word Asperger’s. The guidelines have altered, and today clinicians refer to everyone with symptoms, including those with Asperger’s syndrome, as having autism spectrum disorder. Similarly, no clinician will refer to autism as high-functioning or low-functioning.

Families, on the other hand, do not necessarily use the same terminology as professionals. We utilize shorthand to communicate with one another and to decipher technical terminology that are unfamiliar to us. Most families are aware that autism is a spectrum disorder with high and low points.

Typical Asperger’s symptoms include:

  • Limited social engagement or inappropriate relationships.
  • Speech that is robotic, repetitious, excessively loud, or excessively soft.
  • Conversations that are one-sided and focused on a single topic.
  • Inability to react to emotional outbursts and body language.
  • Awkward or repetitive motions

The lower a person’s level of functioning is, the more symptoms they have and the more severe they are. The opposite is also true.

According to some experts, persons with Asperger’s syndrome are not the same as autistic people. Those with high-functioning autism, for example, need more assistance than those with Asperger’s in understanding emotion.

At home, phrases like high-functioning and low-functioning are acceptable. It’s also OK to use the term Asperger’s Syndrome instead of autism (plenty of other parents prefer this term). The most essential thing is to acknowledge that the individual has differences and that therapy may, and often does, assist.

Treatment Options for Asperger’s Syndrome

Treatment may benefit persons with Asperger’s syndrome, whether they have a high or poor level of functioning. Practitioners modify their techniques to ensure that their clients get assistance in overcoming weaknesses while also learning new abilities.

Autism Speaks reports that Treatment Options for Asperger’s Syndrome include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of treatment (CBT). Thoughts give rise to actions. A CBT program’s purpose is to transform negative thoughts into positive affirmations. When your thoughts shift, your behaviors shift with them.
  • Training in social skills. In these lessons, you’ll improve your conversational abilities and learn how to understand subtle clues like body language.
  • Speech therapy is a kind of treatment that involves the use of Learn to regulate your speech’s tone and tempo, and practice listening to others as they offer their ideas.
  • Physical therapy is a kind of treatment that involves the use of With the guidance of an expert, you may improve your coordination and lessen your clumsiness. Sessions may also aid with the development of fine motor skills, allowing you to type and write effectively.

Occupational therapy, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, may benefit patients with Asperger’s syndrome. Clients might benefit from a therapist’s assistance in the following areas:

  • Enhance your motor abilities.
  • Overcome sensory overload.
  • Improve your capacity to deal with day-to-day tasks.
  • Develop abilities that may be used in school or at employment.

Some persons with Asperger’s syndrome may benefit from psychiatric drugs. They’re usually used in tandem with other treatments. A person may need medicine to treat the following issues:

  • Hyperactivity or impulsivity are two terms for the same thing.
  • Irritability or hostility.
  • Ritualized conduct or obsessive thinking are examples of ritualized behavior.
  • Anxiety.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment is beneficial to many persons with Asperger’s syndrome. This is the most researched therapy for autism, and it’s largely regarded as the most successful.

ABA therapists begin with a therapeutic objective in mind. Clients may choose to concentrate on something basic, such as dressing and grooming correctly before leaving the home. Alternatively, they may choose a larger objective, such as navigating a crowded grocery store without being overwhelmed.

During each session, practitioners try to figure out what triggers harmful behavior. Loud sounds, powerful emotions, exhaustion, hunger, or something else else might be the cause. Then they come up with a new act to replace the deviant conduct. Drills assist in the repetition of a new activity until it becomes second nature.

ABA treatment is time-consuming, and many patients spend several hours each week with their therapists. People with Asperger’s syndrome may make significant progress with ABA approaches with time and effort.

People’s therapeutic requirements typically vary as they become older. Some persons with Asperger’s syndrome, for example, have an unexpected response to a loved one’s mood. They may exaggerate a triumph or miss a period of suffering. Relationships may be torn apart by communication problems.

People who get ABA treatment may be able to recognize emotional triggers and practice appropriate responses. Adults may not need this assistance, but children may. The aims of therapy must alter as the individual grows older and advances through treatment.

Other Resources for Asperger’s Patients

Therapists, physicians, and counselors may all assist persons with Asperger’s syndrome in leading a healthy and balanced existence. Families may need the addition of more members to the team. This is particularly true for those with Asperger’s syndrome who have a poor level of functioning. They may need assistance in order to live freely.

Additional assistance is available from the following sources:

  • School. Children with high-functioning Asperger’s may not be eligible for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or special accommodations in the classroom, while those with low-functioning Asperger’s may. They may be able to establish the groundwork for their future education with the aid they get in school.
  • Work. Activists write movingly on the value of a job for those with Asperger’s syndrome. A job is more than just a location where you go every day. A fulfilling and meaningful job may provide a feeling of success and self-fulfillment. Friendships and extra sources of support may develop between coworkers. Career counselors can assist individuals in finding the perfect job for their skills.
  • Peers. Joining an Asperger’s support group may be quite beneficial. Asperger’s syndrome causes people to feel alone, misunderstood, and worried. They may believe they can’t be themselves without being judged. It may be liberating to speak with peers who understand them.

Seek out all of the resources that can assist you, but don’t be too formulaic. Just because one individual with autism benefits from a certain kind of treatment does not indicate that it will assist everyone.

The most effective programs are adapted to the individual’s strengths and shortcomings. Don’t stick to a cookie-cutter strategy.

Is Asperger’s Syndrome Curable?

Asperger’s syndrome and other autism spectrum diseases are chronic illnesses. They begin long before birth and last throughout the whole of one’s life.

Asperger’s treatment does not aim to cure the disorder. That’s not going to happen. Therapists and technologists, on the other hand, employ their expertise to assist patients manage their symptoms and live better lives.

Although the condition will always be there, it can be managed more easily than ever before. People with Asperger’s syndrome may learn to handle the disorder’s troublesome symptoms and succeed in life.


Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism (June 2016). The National Autistic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of

Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism. Autism Speaks Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about autism

Is Empathy and Emotion Recognition Different in Adults with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome? (Updated February 2016). The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is a publication dedicated to the study of autism and developmental disorders.

What Is Asperger Syndrome and How Does It Affect You? Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about

Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism. (As of June 2019). The American Academy of Family Physicians is a group of doctors that specialize in family medicine.

Asperger’s Syndrome treatment. (As of June 2019). Psych Central is a website dedicated to mental health.

Stop Referring to High-Functioning Autism as “Asperger’s.” (Updated on October 2019). Fatherly.

Parents may get help in teaching emotional regulation. (Sept. 2011). News on the Autism Spectrum

Children and adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome have unique legal issues. (Sept. 2011). News on the Autism Spectrum

Educating Students With Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism: Genius Could Be an Abnormality (In December of 2001). The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with autism

Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is a professional organization dedicated to marriage and family therapy.

High- and Low-Functioning Asperger’s Explained is a book that explains the different levels of functioning in autism. It also compares the two types of autism, high-functioning and low-functioning. Reference: low functioning autism.

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