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Autistic Disorder and Asperger’s Disorder (Pervasive Developmental Disorders): Real Life Stories

Real Life Stories

Philip, now 8 years old, seemed to achieve all the expected childhood milestones, but in his own time and his own way. He started using words at age two and formed complex sentences by age 4, but he was never very interested in using language to communicate with others. Philip has above average intelligence and his academic achievement is at least on grade level. His attention in class is inconsistent because his preoccupation with learning all the routes of the New York City subway system often interferes with his work. His classmates regard him as "different." Philip is content for hours if left alone to draw intricate replications of the subway routes and stops.

At age 10, Diane does not make eye contact when she speaks. She grunts if someone gets too close to her or tries to make her leave the house before she finishes counting all the coins in her treasure chest one more time.

These two children, so different in their behavior, exemplify the range of children who fall within the general category of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Philip has Asperger's Disorder and Diane has been diagnosed with Autistic Disorder.