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    Diagnosis Between Autism and Asperger's

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    Autistic disorder and Asperger's disorder are among the most pervasive mental disorders of childhood. Although children and adolescents diagnosed with either Autism or Asperger's possess impairments in the use of nonverbal behaviors, such as eye contact and/or gestures, each disorder outlines distinct and separate criteria for diagnosis?especially in the areas of communication and language (APA, 2000, p. 70).

    Can someone help me with explaining the difference between the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism and the criteria for the diagnosis of Asperger's? Also, what symptoms of other childhood disorders might complicate a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger as well an example of one of those disorders.

    (See attached DSM-IV-TR criteria)

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    Solution Preview

    Remember - I cannot answer this question for you. I can point you in the right direction.

    The real issue between these two diagnoses is the level of severity. This seems to be the scholarly consensus at the moment.

    From the material you gave me:

    First, Autism:

    - Aloof and totally isolated from others
    - Routine and ritualized behavior
    - Obsession with parts of objects; how things operate, but only partially
    - No spontaneous action
    - No relationship forming (this is the major one)
    - No emotional engagement (similar to the above)
    - No conversation (or minimal)
    - Activities greatly restricted to a few things
    - Hyperactivity and tantrums
    - No interest or greatly restricted interests
    - Some clear mental retardation
    - Language use overly literal: no understanding of ...

    Solution Summary

    A diagnosis between Autism and Asperger's is determined.