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Autistic Disorder and Asperger’s Disorder (Pervasive Developmental Disorders): Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms

Signs which impede functioning differ for children with Autistic Disorder and those with Asperger's Disorder.

Autistic Disorder

  • Language - delay in spoken language, do not attempt to use non-verbal communication, do not initiate conversations, stereotyped and repetitive or idiosyncratic language, parrot or repeat phrases, lack of spontaneous imaginative play.

  • Social interaction - do not use nonverbal methods such as eye gaze, facial expression, body posture or gestures to interact, do not develop age-appropriate peer relationships, do not seek to share enjoyment or experiences with others, lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

  • Preoccupation with stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, inflexible adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals.

  • Stereotyped mannerisms such as hand or finger flapping, persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

Asperger's Disorder

Although people with AS are of average or high intelligence, with no significant language problems, they have a qualitative impairment in social interaction. They may have difficulty in using and interpreting non-verbal behaviors, such as facial expressions and body language, as well as verbal conventions, such as conversational turn-taking, all of which help us understand the nuances of social interaction. People with AS usually have some pattern of restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities.