5 Differences Between Autism and Aspergers

5 Differences Between Autism and Aspergers
Autism and Aspergers share quite a few similarities and a lot of people have problems differentiating between the two.

This is further worsened by the fact that as of 2013 Aspergers is no longer diagnosed as a different condition as it was brought under the same group as an Autism spectrum disorder.

There are some ways in which autism and Aspergers differ.

For example in terms of speech and language skills, autism and Aspergers deal different effects.

The speech and language skills of people with Aspergers are not affected compared with the effect of autism on speech and language skills.

Both groups have difficulty with social interactions and have a problem with repetitive behaviors or obsessive interests which others may find off-putting.

The age of onset for autism and Aspergers is also a different factor.

It is earlier detected for autism but detection for Aspergers comes at a later stage in life.

Scientific studies carried out for individuals who have autism and those that have Aspergers have also shown that the wiring(brain patterns) for individuals in both groups are different.

To learn more about the differences between autism and Aspergers, read on.

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Age of Onset 

The ages of onset for autism and Aspergers are different.

Autism is easily detectable from a young age.

Quite a few cases have been detected from as early as 18 months of age.

There are several indicators of autism in the social interactions and communication of young kids.

Things such as not responding to names by 9 months, use of little to no gesticulation (even as little as pointing sometimes), a lack of facial expressions, not following other kids to play, and not being aware of when others are hurt.

Other indicators are delayed language skills, delayed movement capabilities, delayed cognitive ability expected of age, difficulty in learning, impulsiveness, mood swings, irritability, etc.

The average age for autism diagnosis is four years of age while Aspergers is usually detected when individuals approach their teenage years or adulthood.

This is ascribed to the lack of language hindrances or lower IQs. 

Due to this, a lot of parents of children who have Aspergers may not know that their child has it until they commence going to school and start to engage in more social interactions.

Cognitive Functioning 

It is usual for autism to affect a child's cognitive skills. Aspergers doesn't deal as much of a blow to cognitive functions as autism.

Individuals with Aspergers usually have average to above average IQs and are called people with 'high functioning autism".

The degree of cognitive delay experienced by autistic people is not present for people with Aspergers.

Unlike autistic People, people with Aspergers cannot have clinically significant cognitive holdbacks.

It is not all bleak as certain cognitive strengths are also commonly found in autistic people.

Things such as great attention to detail, creative talents, visual perception, and visual, rule-based, and interest-based thinking showcase these strengths. 

Speech and Language Skills

The speech and language skills of autistic people and people with Aspergers differ.

The main difference is that people with autism display difficulty with language skills.

People diagnosed with Aspergers have good language skills but lack stable and smooth social interaction making it difficult to fit in with other people as well as making maintenance of relationships hard.

People with autism may have the obstacle of not understanding what another person says.

Another obstacle is the picking up of nonverbal cues in form of body language and facial expressions.

Children with autism, on the other hand, typically exhibit problems with speech and communication.

They may have difficulty understanding what someone is saying to them, or they may be unable to pick up on nonverbal cues like hand gestures and facial expressions.

Children with autism are commonly seen as distant and uninterested in others unlike kids with Aspergers.

There's also an exhibited interest in only a few topics when trying to converse with others kids with autism and such interests may be obsessive.

Brain Differences 

A few scientific pieces of research into autism and Aspergers may hint at a difference between the brain patterns of both groups.

One such study used electroencephalography (EEG) to determine the kind of signaling which occurs in the brains of people with autism and people with Aspergers.

Kids with Aspergers showed signaling where the left hemisphere of their brains showed stronger connections than those of kids with autism.

The studies also showed a lot of interference (folds) in the region of the brain that is responsible for language.

Effects on Daily Living 

Autism and Aspergers pose some degree of difficulty for people living with them. Difficulties vary for either group.

The effect of autism is more pronounced and makes daily life something that needs to be quite micromanaged to maintain stability.

People with Aspergers may not have as much difficulty with speech as those with autism but they may still encounter problems with understanding and processing language. There is also significant difficulty encountered in social communication and interactions.

A symptom of autism and Aspergers is restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and obsessiveness with certain topics. These as well as other symptoms make for some obstacles to living life normally.

The degree to which autism affects the daily lives of people with it is significantly more negative objectively speaking than the effects of Asperger's on those with it. 


Autism and Aspergers are usually confused with each other.

This is made even worse by the modern merging of Aspergers under the autism spectrum umbrella.

However, traditionally there are observable differences between the two.

Some of these differences are the age of onset, cognitive functioning, speech and language skills, brain patterns and wiring, and the effect of either on the daily life of those with it.

Autism and Aspergers may pose some problems, but it is important to also focus on the positives while managing the setbacks.


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May 28th, 2023

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