Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why is Asperger's syndrome considered a form of autism?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy is Asperger's syndrome considered a form of autism?


My son seems fine most of the time. I don't know why this is considered autism.


Asperger's syndrome is considered an autism spectrum disorder. Autism itself is also considered an autism spectrum disorder, but Asperger's syndrome and autism are not considered the same thing. There is some key aspects of both disorders that overlap and two key aspects that differ.

See a doctor who can help

Find Psychiatrists near you

People with Asperger's syndrome and autism are both characterized by difficulties with social interactions (trouble interacting with friends and family), and very restricted and sometimes repetitive interests. The key difference between these two disorders has to do with speech and cognition. Patients with Asperger's syndrome have normal speech development and normal intellect, while those with autism typically have delayed or impaired speech and subnormal intellect. Thus you could say that people with Asperger's syndrome are less effected than those with pure autism. Thus it is not a surprise that your son seems normal most of the time. The type of physician that may be best for your son to see for Asperger's is a child psychiatrist. Only a psychiatrist would have the training necessary to understand the subtle social impairments that someone with this syndrome would have. This way, your son will have an expert that understands his situation to talk to in the future, if issues arise.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.