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.


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