Classic Autism

Asperger’s syndrome has been referred to as high-functioning autism or ‘mild autism’ (although one mother wryly commented that her son didn’t have mild anything!) It is only mild compared to so-called ‘classic autism’.

The National Mental Health Information Center says,

“Autism prevents children and adolescents from interacting normally with other people and affects almost every aspect of their social and psychological development.”

Social interaction and communication …. Let’s talk about this a little. Individuals with autism do not generally pick up on even the most basic social cues – body language, tone of voice, gestures, etc. In the video, you met a man with Asperger’s. Now let’s look at the story of a little boy with Autism. Michael Blastland’s son has severe autism. He describes him as follows,

“The quality that makes other people’s behavior intelligible, the fact that it is done for a reason – imperfect irrational, selfish, self-defeating, nasty, or hasty though reason and action may sometimes be – the fact that what we do is in our own minds at least the servant of some intention, has been substantially washed form his conception of life. He fully grasps what we intend neither from what we say, nor from what we do. Let’s be clear, this need not be due to lack of intelligence; it is quite specifically a lack of ability to work out what other people think they are up to.”

Blastland’s son does not have the desire or ability to interact socially with others that seems to be instinctive in most children.

Children with Autism are impaired in communication, social interaction and have repetitive interests, stereotyped behaviors or rigid routines. So do children with Asperger’s, although not to the same extent. Children with Asperger’s, by definition, have normal or higher intelligence. Most children with Autism are mentally retarded (we think, although if a child has no interest in talking or doing the test it is hard to say for sure), but some people with Autism have average or above-average intelligence.