What is Autism High Functioning?
“High-functioning autism” is not a diagnosis or an official medical term. It is an informal term some people use when referring to people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder who can write, read, speak, and handle basic life abilities like getting dressed and eating. They are also able to live independently.
High-functioning autism is not an official medical diagnosis or term. It often mentions autistic people who speak, write, read and manage basic life skills without much aid.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by a person’s communication and social interaction troubles. Some autistic people need marginal support with their issues, while others require significant assistance daily. This is the reason why autism is now known as ASD or, more commonly, autism spectrum disorder.
High-Functioning Autism is often used to denote people with lower support requirements. Please read below to learn more about it.
Autism Spectrum Disorder:
For a long time, people who exhibited only very severe symptoms of autism were diagnosed with it. Beginning in the early 1990s, moderate forms of autism were acknowledged, including Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism, which share most of the same signs and indicators.
Then in the early 2010s, the American Psychiatric Association classified autism-related disorders into one term: ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Although, you might still hear certain people, who aren’t qualified doctors, continue to use terms like Asperger’s. It might be that they’re not accustomed to the spectrum or referring to an analysis made before the symptoms were renamed ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Like all those on the autism spectrum, people who are high-functioning have a difficult time with communication and social interaction. They don’t read social cues as expected and might find it challenging to make new friends. They can get so anxious about a social situation that they black out. They also don’t make much small talk or eye contact.
People on the high-functioning autism spectrum can also be very dedicated to order and routine. They might have restrictive and repetitive habits that seem weird to others.
There’s an extensive range of how they do with work and school. Some do well in school, while others get exhausted and overwhelmed and cannot concentrate.
Some can even hold a job, while others find that difficult to do so. It all changes with the person and the situation. But even though someone on the autism spectrum can do a lot, the common symptom among people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder is weak social and communication skills.
A prevalent sign in someone with autism is emotional sensitivity. Although it is often disregarded, sensitivity to feelings and sentiments is one of the most widespread symptoms of high-functioning autism. Even though these individuals can function well in everyday life, they struggle to manage their reactions the same way non-autistic or neurotypical people can.
For instance, a frustrating early morning occurrence, like simply running out of milk or being severed while driving, can cause a short temper and difficulty focusing for the remainder of the day. People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may also have oddly intense emotional responses compared to others.
Children and adolescents on the low-functioning edge of the autism spectrum usually battle with:
- Holding conversations with people.
- Building vocabulary.
- Learning to speak.
Individuals with symptoms of high-functioning autism may start conversing much earlier than what is considered normal and often exhibit an impressive vocabulary. They might find conversations with others challenging to follow or tiresome and avoid speaking with their colleagues. An autistic individual may simply seem odd during conversations as their focus on particular topics, varied vocabularies, or frequent interruptions seem like peculiarities rather than neurological signs.
Fixation on Specific Ideas or Subjects:
Constantly discussing the same topics during conversations, repetitively listening to the same song, or re-reading every article about a specific topic are indicators of high-functioning autism in adolescents and adults. These tendencies and activities might be harmful if they constantly occupy an individual’s life or hinder their relationships with others.
However, these obsessive interests can also be helpful. For instance, Dan Aykroyd, star and writer of the hit movie Ghostbusters, was encouraged by his focus on the paranormal and ghosts.
Many other high-functioning autistic people have used their focus on writing, biology, or mathematics to stimulate successful careers.
Another prevalent sign in someone with autism is social difficulties. Teachers and parents might notice that youngsters with autism have a hard time interacting with their friends or classmates. These high-functioning autism signs in children and adolescents can include:
- Difficulty finishing group work.
- A limited social circle.
- Problems sharing materials or toys.
Sometimes teenagers are considered to be socially awkward, shy, or quirky when they are actually dealing with ASD. These children need counseling facilities to help them study social guidelines. The issues with interacting and communicating with their peers usually originate from a lack of knowledge of appropriate behavior with others. They have a tough time recognizing body language and social cues. Early involvement from mental health experts can help autistic adolescents learn the best methods to network with their potential friends and classmates.
Problems processing physical Sensations:
Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder have sensory problems. They may have an extreme intolerance to specific:
Noisy or public places, unwanted touches, or uncomfortable clothing can lead to emotional anguish. These issues can be stressful and disruptive, but autism symptoms can progress with time as children with mild Autism Spectrum Disorder learn to control their own behavior by working with specialists.
Many people on the autism spectrum can profit from occupational therapy to handle sensory issues. An OT or occupational therapist can create strategies and goals for the autistic individual to work on. The two can meet once a week or once in a couple of days, depending on the individual’s requirements.
Devotion to Routines:
Another characteristic of an individual with autism is the daily routine. Those with high-functioning autism are usually devoted to routines and schedules. They may stick to habits created for them by others, for example, brushing their teeth precisely 10 minutes after eating a meal or reading for exactly 20 minutes before sleeping. Any abnormality from the routine could irritate. Examples include:
- A snowstorm might cause the school to be canceled.
- The school bus might run late, and they miss their first period.
- A parent might need to help a sick sibling at bedtime rather than reading a bedtime story to the autistic child.
The individual with high-functioning autism may dedicate an excessive amount of time to performing their routines to the impairment of:
Dislike of Change:
One of the common indicators of high-functioning autism is a strong dislike of modification. An autistic individual might consume the same meal for breakfast every day and eat it on the same dish, in the same place, and in the same quantity. Any change or disruption in the routine could cause an eruption in the individual. For instance, if the usual brand of butter has run out, and another brand has been bought instead, the individual with high-functioning autism may have an outburst of frustration or anger. Or if someone has used their favorite dish, they may have a similar explosion.
Development of Restrictive or Repetitive Habits:
Repetitive behaviors may also be indicators of high-functioning autism in adolescents and adults. Those habits could hinder a person’s ability to do what they actually need or what other people want them to do. One kind of repetitive habit may be related to movement. The autistic individual may have to tie and untie their shoes several times before they are delighted and are able to leave the house or start walking.
Some high-functioning autistic adults also develop restrictive behaviors that interfere with socially accepted subsisting. For instance, an individual might reject wearing any other kind of top than a t-shirt. This could affect their well-being and health if they live in an area with cold weather.
Focus on Self:
Adults with high-functioning autism may have problems developing deep social relations with others. Part of this concern also includes an excessive focus on oneself. An individual with high-functioning autism may devote an unwanted amount of time talking about themselves, not letting the other person to share a whole response or thought. This makes continuing a conversation tough. In a household setting or the family, a child or adult with high-functioning autism might only think of themselves when doing certain activities. For instance, they may pour themselves a drink without offering anyone else. They may take more than what others understand as a fair portion of a treat or snack, sincerely not thinking someone else might also want some of it.
Unusual Movement Patterns:
An individual with high-functioning autism might have unusual movement patterns. Walking on toes is an everyday movement tic. The individual may walk on the ball and the toes of their feet or only on their toes without putting their full body weight on the other parts of their feet. This may result in foot pain in the bunion, the ball, or the hammertoe from the extreme pressure. The socks and shoes might wear out in the forefoot area faster than in the heels. Autistic people who walk on the toes of their feet may also experience more foot injuries, such as corns, blisters, and calluses, on their toes and footpads. Toe walking is mainly observed in young children and people with musculoskeletal.
Not all individuals with autism are unable to maintain social ties or physical tics. High-functioning autistic individuals typically present indicators not initially associated with autism. Familiarity with these symptoms of high-functioning autism helps parents, providers, teachers, and other people to coordinate the early curing of a person with this disorder.
What are the levels of ASD?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is divided into three main levels:
Level 1. People at level one may have symptoms that don’t affect their relationships, work, or school, too much. Most people refer to this when they use the terms Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism.
Level 2. People at level two require some external support daily. Examples of outside support include social skills training and speech therapy.
Level 3. People at level three require significant external support daily. In some cases, support might include intensive therapy full-time or aides.
How are Autism Spectrum Disorder levels determined?
Although it’s difficult to determine a person’s Autism Spectrum Disorder level, trained psychologists and specialists have some instruments that can help them accomplish it. ASD can be analyzed as early as 2 years. However, many kids, and even some adults, might not be diagnosed until much later in life.
Being diagnosed as an adolescent or adult rather than a child can make support more challenging. If your child’s pediatrician or you as a parent think they might be autistic, contemplate making an appointment with an Autism Spectrum Disorder specialist.
Potential ASD support:
Speech therapy. Autism Spectrum Disorder can cause various speech issues. Some autistic individuals might not speak at all, while others might have problems engaging in conversations with people. Speech therapy can assist in addressing a wide range of speech difficulties.
Physical therapy. Some autistic individuals have trouble with agility. This can make basic actions such as walking, running, or jumping difficult. Physical therapy can aid in strengthening muscles and improving these skills.
Occupational therapy. Occupational therapy can assist you in learning how to use your legs, hands, or other body parts more effectively. This can make work and daily tasks easier.
Sensory training. Autistic people are often delicate to touch, sounds, and lights. Sensory training helps them become more relaxed with sensory input.
What’s the bottom line?
High-functioning autism is not recognized as a medical term and doesn’t have a clear description. People using this term are probably referring to something related to level 1 ASD. It might also be similar to Asperger’s syndrome.
If you think that you or your child have any of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, consult a specialist or doctor.