Anonymous asked in Social SciencePsychology · 2 years ago

What exactly is autism?

I've remember as a child being acquainted with a child with autism--he could not speak and could only communicate by spelling letters on a card. Most of the time he seemed completely zoned out and oblivious to his surroundings.

As far as myself personally now, as an adult, I am seeing a psychiatrist due to a series of emotional issues that is spilling over into my work and school life. To my shock, she said that she is weighing my symptoms between autism and Asperger's syndrome, but she'd like to see me further.

I looked up autism on Youtube and saw a woman who claimed to be autistic giving a completely coherent I'm scratching my head! What is autism then? I thought it was some form of mental handicap!

2 Answers

  • 2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, understand that Asperger's is no longer classified as a separate and distinguishable disease from autism. It's now considered to be a part of the broad spectrum of symptoms associated with autism.

    "Asperger Syndrome exists as part of the autism spectrum but differs in early development of language from classic autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. ... Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism (HFA) are often referred to as the same diagnosis." [

    So now it's considered to be a high functioning autism. And that means the patient can be and often is still socially functional. In fact I personally know of an Asperger's who is extremely functional to the point of being the BMOC on a university campus. Expectations are that he'll go into politics after graduating year after next (he's a junior).

    But some of our greatest contributors to society are Asperger's: Bill Gates and Albert Einstein are two for examples. So it's not necessarily a "mental handicap." In fact one of the quirks of Asperger's is that some of the patients have extremely keen talents well above the normal. We call them child prodigies.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    It's the opposite of mental disability, they are usually quite smart, just a bit shy and unable to develop speech until late in their childhood i.e. around 8 years old. The truth is that they have developed and internalized speech but only let it out at 8 years old due to an inability to socialise with others. They also display repetitive behaviours, which is why many think that OCD is the adult version of autism.

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