Because “high-functioning autism” isn’t an official diagnosis, the term can be hard to fully define. According to the team at VeryWell Health, however, the term can mean any of the following:
- A person with mild autism symptoms who still meets the criteria for diagnosis
- A person on the autism spectrum whose IQ score is above 70
- A person with autism who can successfully navigate typical school or work environments
- A person who passes as neurotypical by masking their symptoms
- A person who previously qualified for an Asperger syndrome diagnosis
As professionals continue to recognize these milder or “high-functioning” people on the autism spectrum, more children receive an autism diagnosis. However, it can be hard to know if your child meets the criteria if you don’t know what to look for.
A poll conducted with several ABA therapists says these 10 signs are most commonly associated with autism, especially a case that is considered high functioning:
- Emotional Sensitivity
- Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
- Linguistic Oddities
- Social Difficulties
- Problems Processing Physical Sensations
- Devotion to Routines
- Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
- Dislike of Change
- Focus on Self
- Unusual Movement Patterns
Because autism spectrum disorder is such a broad diagnosis, it’s important to remember that not all of the signs need to be present for diagnosis, and many of these signs can look very different from person to person. This is why the diagnosis process is so important.
What to Do if You Think Your Child has High-Functioning Autism
If you suspect your child falls on the autism spectrum, you may feel scared, overwhelmed, or unsure of what to do next. This is all very normal for any parent whose child is receiving a disability diagnosis, so don’t worry.
It’s important to recognize any feelings you may be experiencing and also learn to compartmentalize them as you work towards receiving a diagnosis for your child.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you’ll first need to share your concerns about your child’s behaviors with their pediatrician. From there, your pediatrician will put in the orders for a full assessment to be completed. These assessments are usually done by an entire team of professionals in multiple parts. The testing will include both observations of your child and questions for you to complete.
What to do if Your Child Qualifies for an ASD Diagnosis
If your child qualifies for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, the next steps may include scheduled appointments with therapists and other specialists and the development of a treatment plan.
In many cases, this team includes a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and a psychologist or psychiatrist. You can also opt to try applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, but many people in the autism community have mixed feelings about this therapy.
If your child is under the age of three, they may qualify for early intervention programs from your state or local government. If your child is over the age of three, they will likely qualify for special education services from your local school district and may even have the option to enroll in an early start or pre-kindergarten program specifically designed for children with IEPs.
Even children with high-functioning autism require some interventions and special needs. There’s nothing wrong with a child on the autism spectrum, and you can absolutely give your child the tools they need to succeed.
It’s important to recognize early signs of autism, even if your child appears to communicate and meet developmental milestones since early intervention can really help.
ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants
If you have questions regarding autism treatment with ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.