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"How are autism and Asperger's disorder related?"


Doctor, they told me my daughter is autistic and then they said she has Asperger's. How are these different? Are they related at all?


Asperger disorder is a description of an illness that falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, but is less severe. For that reason, it is unclear is Asperger disorder is a form of high functioning autism, or if it is an entirely separate condition. Neither autism as commonly defined nor Asperger disorder have a known cause, and both can be devastating to a concerned parent.

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The best thing to do in response to the shock that this diagnosis must have caused is to gather more information by meeting with your doctor, and by possibly engaging in one or several of the many support groups that are available. Asperger disorder is less pronounced than autism, in that the patients are generally more social, have higher cognitive function, and perform better than their autistic peers with regards to learning new skills and abilities. There is much that is not understood about these increasingly prevalent disorders, but by speaking with your pediatrician or psychiatrist, you should be able to gain the understanding and support that you will need to be able to adjust and set realistic goals for a happy future. Take advantage of the many resources that are available.

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