High functioning Autism: what does it really mean?

High functioning Autism: what does it really mean?

The incidence of autism is on the rise.  The question, quite simply, is : Why?  Well, you won’t likely get one answer.

Some say the population is becoming more and more aware of the symptoms of high functioning autism and that adds in to the rising numbers.  But what’s good to keep in mind with anything relating to autism is that more are receiving support and finding out they can live healthy and fulfilling lives.

What is high functioning autism all about, how do you recognize it?  Well, according to sources on autism, it amounts to some main things:

Devoted to Routines

Those with high functioning autism are said to be devoted to their routines  (a routine is an action they need to repeat it each day) and anyone who disrupts that routine can subject those with high functioning autism to frustration.

Being Emotionally Sensitive

Some may not realize that sensitivity to emotions signifies autism. Many with autism can do well with managing most of their daily lives but they can find it difficult to control their feelings.

Take an event like a cup of coffee that drops on the floor in the morning.  It can disrupt the day – and shows how those with autism show more intense reactions to emotions.

Oddities with Vocabulary

People who are said to be high functioning autistics may actually have better vocabulary development  compared to others on the autistic spectrum. But they find many topics annoying so they stay away from conversations with those around them.

Their expansive vocabulary typically focuses on particular issues (known as a linguistic oddity.)

Changes Aren’t Welcome

This is said to be the hallmark sign of functioning autism.  What happens in many cases, those affected may eat the same meal at the same time, same quantity too each day.  Anyone who is wanting them to change will face strong resistance.

Socially Challenged

It is often noticed that autistic children have trouble interacting and striking friendships with others.  The social circle is small and those with autism are very selective with their interactions. Children with autism are more shy and awkward and that sometimes requires counseling in an effort to live healthy lives.

Treatments and High Functioning Autism

Clinical studies on autism have shown that patients respond positively to Applied Behavior Analysis Programs as part of early intervention for autism in childhood.  Some methods that show positive responses include  incidental teaching, generalization of the natural environment and video modeling.

High Functioning Autism – the Term

What also needs to pointed out is that more recently – there is some debate about the term  “high functioning” autism.

Journals on ASD have stated that  while all individuals affected must meet core criteria to receive a diagnosis – the “functional” estimates remain highly variable. And the term “high functioning” is often used for individuals  diagnosed with ASD who have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of  70 or above.

And one doctor , speaking in a published report states that many children and young people may have an appropriate IQ for their age but still struggle with everyday skills like getting themselves to school, navigating public transport or communicating with their peers.

Research has shown that a large group of young people deemed to be high functioning due to having an average or higher IQ had functional abilities  well below what would be expected, given their higher IQ and those conducting the study say this points to the need for those with high functioning autism to receive help with everyday skills.

And yet another study suggests that the high functioning reference might be misleading, and in some cases may even disqualify some from receiving needed services.

High functioning autism is not considered to be a medical term or diagnosis. It refers to individuals who have autism but can live more independently compared to others on the autism spectrum and can benefit from autism treatment programs at some point.

If someone suspects and confirms a loved one is affected with high functioning autism look to an ASD treatment center for proper diagnosis and advice on the best treatments.

If you are looking to support these people living with disabilities such as autism and the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who care for them, visit the 1CFS shop and buy one or more of our cool 1CFS T-shirts. It goes a long way to spread awareness and financially support people living with developmental disabilities.

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