Skip to main content

Autism and Asperger's syndrome may be biologically different, study finds - Los Angeles LA |

My wife and I have long thought "autism" and "Asperger's Syndrome" were distinct, based on observing, meeting, and interviewing people with diagnoses within the various autism spectrum categories. There is research finding high-fucntioning autistics and Asperger's are distinct, as well, which I have cited in my own research of learning patterns and accommodation needs.
Autism and Asperger's syndrome may be biologically different, study finds - Los Angeles LA | There were some similarities in the brain patterns of the Asperger's and ASD participants, namely low connectivity in the region of the brain associated with language. However, the scientists noted stronger connectivity in regions of the brain than both the ASD and control groups.
My diagnosis was high-fucntioning autism (HFA) which is not an official DSM-IV category, but is used by many clinicians and researchers. Often, the distinctions made by clinicians deal with language skills and other developmental delays.

The personality differences I notice might be noticeable to clinicians. I've found AS students and young adults to be more prone to depression, for example, because they have a greater desire for social interactions. I also find that students with AS have more conflicts in the classroom, while HFA students seem to avoid conflict. These are only generalizations, but they might reflect neurological differences. It would be interesting for researchers to pursue these questions.

I have cited some studies finding differences in my academic papers and I am convinced the differences are quite real and distinct.

Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. J. and Pennington, B. F. (1991), Asperger's Syndrome: Evidence of an Empirical Distinction from High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 32: 1107–1122. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1991.tb00352.x

Howlin, P. (2003), Outcome in High-Functioning Adults with Autism with and Without Early Language Delays: Implications for the Differentiation Between Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 0162-3257. v 33 n.1. doi: 10.1023/A:1022270118899


  1. I've always believed that Asperger's syndrome and autism are two distinct things. I've got Asperger's and crave social contact...but I'm not very good at it and so am lonely and socially isolated and excluded; the people with autism I've met just seem to want to live in their own private worlds.

  2. I would agree, at least based on my interactions with others on the spectrum. I am most content at home, working, or somewhere without a lot of people.


Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …