If a child with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) came to you for care, would you be able to differentiate him from a child diagnosed with high functioning autism (HFA)?
AS is one of five conditions listed as part of the autism spectrum in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). The others are autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.
A work group of the American Psychiatric Association has proposed that AS would not be a separate diagnosis in the DSM-V but simply would be described as autism spectrum disorder.
This proposal has stirred debate over whether Asperger’s syndrome is a separate disorder from high functioning autism.
Several factors suggest that AS and HFA are not separate entities. For example, siblings can show different manifestations of autism, with one child having AS and the other autistic disorder. In addition,...