Misconception and Stigma

The general perception of both Autism and what was previously diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome is fogged by misconception and stigma.

For instance, society commonly expects people with an Autism diagnosis to have above-average intelligence. While many children and adults on the spectrum display unique cognitive skills and exceptional creative talents, studies have shown that only up to 25% of them have genius-level intelligence. These individuals’ intelligence levels and abilities can vary like the rest of the population.

Due to the effects of Autism on social and communication skills, the average autistic person can be perceived as rude, difficult, or lacking in empathy – which is not the case. Individuals with this difference communicate their social or emotional experiences in unconventional ways. Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s usually go hand in hand with anxiety, which makes people on the spectrum struggle with social interaction.

An Autism and Asperger’s diagnosis doesn’t mean the person’s behaviour needs to be “fixed”. It is a spectrum of neurodiversity. There is nothing “wrong” with individuals on the Autism spectrum; they deserve to feel loved and supported by those around them.

Our Impact - The Story of P.

P. is a young boy 24 years that lives with autism, including a learning disability. Years of inadequate care that has led to a damaging impact on his behaviour and well-being. A single phone call to our Fast Response Team initiated a positive transformation, giving P. and his family a new beginning. 

Our support workers provide compassionate care to P. through cohesivenessconsistent teamwork, and a personcentred approach to people with learning disabilities. 

We are beyond proud to share the full story of P. and to spread our shared impact.

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Autism and Asperger's Syndrome: Similarities

While several characteristics distinguish Asperger’s syndrome from other forms of Autism, the two share the same key indications.

Like all individuals with Autism, people with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty interpreting social cues in verbal or nonverbal communication (e.g. facial expressions, eye contact, and sarcasm). They also tend to obsessively focus on their topics of interest during conversations. These traits make it hard for children and adults on the spectrum to maintain relationships.

People with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome often stick to restricted routines and engage in repetitive patterns of behaviour. They have the desire to follow fixed schedules and tend to feel distressed in cases of change. Repetitive movements (such as twirling, hand-flapping, and rocking back and forth) are another common trait associated with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

In addition to that, individuals with both Autism and Asperger’s syndrome have unique sensory experiences that make them stand out from neurotypical individuals. They can be hypersensitive to bright lights, loud sounds, or particular textures. Due to the challenges they face in social interactions, people with these differences can develop mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

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Autism and Asperger's Syndrome: Differences

The main difference between Autism and what used to be defined as Asperger’s syndrome is that the former is linked to more severe symptoms.

Unlike Autism, Asperger’s usually doesn’t cause developmental delays or severe impairment of the person’s language development. Due to the severity of its signs, Autism is more likely to be diagnosed in the early childhood years.

Differences in Social Communication and Interaction

A vital difference between Autism and Asperger’s is that children with Autism are more prone to experiencing language delay, while Asperger’s syndrome usually doesn’t disrupt language learning. Therefore, individuals with Asperger’s are more likely to have good language skills and grasp verbal communication from an early school age.

Children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder often resort to social withdrawal, whereas the ones with Asperger’s may try to interact with their peers. Although they welcome social interactions, individuals with Asperger’s still struggle to interpret nonverbal communication, jokes, or sarcastic remarks.

Differences in Repetitive Behaviours and Interests

The repetitive behaviours and interests in individuals with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome differ in intensity. Children, young people, and adults with both differences engage in various repetitive movements, such as:

Differences in Repetitive Behaviours and Interests

Both also prefer to follow strict routines and tend to fixate on specific topics of interest. However, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder can experience more intense outbursts of distress due to routine changes.

Sensory Differences and Sensitivities

Similarly, both Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s syndrome cause sensitivity to sensory input, including:

However, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome may have milder reactions to sensory overload, whereas those with other forms of Autism need immediate intervention and removal of the trigger from their surroundings.

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Asperger's Syndrome vs High-Functioning Autism

Individuals with both high-functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s have a better visual perception of things. Instead of thinking verbally, they tend to create mental pictures when recalling a particular event or idea. Both differences are associated with a relatively poor grasp of facial expressions, body language, and other nonverbal cues.

The diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s and high-functioning Autism distinguish these two differences based on the presence of speech delay, which is more common in children with high-functioning Autism. However, some experts treat this difference as a continuum and don’t recognise it as a sufficient factor to diagnose one difference over the other.

There are currently no specific diagnostic tests that differentiate between Asperger’s and HFA. Experts establish one diagnosis over another by assessing the individual’s cognitive development. Due to DSM updates, Asperger’s syndrome is now diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder, but some individuals prefer to keep the term Asperger’s syndrome.

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The Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis

Receiving an accurate diagnosis is crucial for every person on the Autism spectrum to access proper treatment. Without adequate assessment and support, people with Autism or Asperger’s can face challenges and difficulties in many areas of life, such as social isolation and poor academic performance.

Once the young person is diagnosed, they can develop a sense of belonging and understand there is nothing wrong with their cognitive and behavioural traits. Parents, teachers, and trained carers can help them channel their unique strengths into a productive framework and lead a fulfilling, successful life.

Access to tailored support can prevent the person from developing low self-esteem and subsequent mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Psychotherapy may help some individuals with ASD cope with the everyday challenges characteristic of these differences.

The Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis
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Challenges and Strengths Associated with Both Syndromes

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s syndrome cause difficulties in many aspects of life, especially regarding the individual’s social integration. Individuals on the spectrum often struggle with interpreting social cues, handling sensory overload, or coping with changes in their fixed schedule.

However, it is important for these individuals and their families to know that these differences also bring many unique strengths. Children, young people, and adults with Autism can lead a thriving social life. With their unique outlook on problem-solving, they can also achieve academic and professional success.

The Future of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The perception of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s syndrome and the expert approach to their treatment is constantly evolving. These developmental differences are now viewed as forms of neurodiversity. Children and adults on the spectrum don’t need to be cured; they need proper accommodation and positive behaviour support (PBS) on their pathway to independence.

At-home care services enable individuals on the spectrum to receive the assistance they need in their familiar surroundings, close to their loved ones. With the help of a dedicated team of carers, autistic children and adults can achieve their full potential and lead thriving social, emotional, academic, and professional lives.

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ASD Care and Support with Leaf Complex Care

At Leaf Complex Care, we treat the accommodation of individuals on the autism spectrum as our lifelong mission. We strive to help autistic children and adults channel their unique strengths into a productive framework and maximise their independence, self-esteem, and social integration.

If you are looking for a high-standard, CQC-regulated home care service provider for yourself or a loved one on the spectrum, Leaf Complex Care is the right place for you. We deliver person-centred care for neurodivergent individuals in Bristol, Slough, Somerset, and the Midlands. Contact us, and we will create tailored care catering to your personal needs and preferences.