Pediatric Annals

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CME Article 

Asperger’s Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

Laura Arnstein Carpenter, PhD, BCBA; Latha Soorya, PhD, BCBA; Danielle Halpern, PsyD

Abstract

Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism are developmental disabilities sharing many common features, including social deficits, restricted interests, and odd or repetitive behaviors, although they differ regarding early language skills. There is ongoing debate as to whether they are truly distinct disorders. Increased awareness of these disorders in recent years has led to dramatic increases in diagnosis, although it is unclear whether there have been true increases in incidence. Research regarding best diagnostic and treatment practices is limited. Long-term outcome for these individuals has been poor but appears to be improving. This article discusses the recent research regarding Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism, as well as current gaps in the literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Laura Arnstein Carpenter, PhD, BCBA is with the Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Latha Soorya, PhD, BCBA, and Danielle Halpern, PsyD, are with Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.

Address correspondence to: Laura Carpenter, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Pediatrics, 135 Rutledge Ave, MSC 567 PO Box 29425-5670, Charleston, SC 29425; fax 843-876-1518; or e-mail carpentl@musc.edu.

Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Soorya, and Dr. Halpern have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the distinguishing and overlapping features of Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  2. Review diagnostic strategies for suspected Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  3. Identify the major treatment approaches for Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.

Abstract

Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism are developmental disabilities sharing many common features, including social deficits, restricted interests, and odd or repetitive behaviors, although they differ regarding early language skills. There is ongoing debate as to whether they are truly distinct disorders. Increased awareness of these disorders in recent years has led to dramatic increases in diagnosis, although it is unclear whether there have been true increases in incidence. Research regarding best diagnostic and treatment practices is limited. Long-term outcome for these individuals has been poor but appears to be improving. This article discusses the recent research regarding Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism, as well as current gaps in the literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Laura Arnstein Carpenter, PhD, BCBA is with the Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Latha Soorya, PhD, BCBA, and Danielle Halpern, PsyD, are with Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.

Address correspondence to: Laura Carpenter, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Pediatrics, 135 Rutledge Ave, MSC 567 PO Box 29425-5670, Charleston, SC 29425; fax 843-876-1518; or e-mail carpentl@musc.edu.

Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Soorya, and Dr. Halpern have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the distinguishing and overlapping features of Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  2. Review diagnostic strategies for suspected Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  3. Identify the major treatment approaches for Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.

Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism are developmental disabilities sharing many common features, including social deficits, restricted interests, and odd or repetitive behaviors, although they differ regarding early language skills. There is ongoing debate as to whether they are truly distinct disorders. Increased awareness of these disorders in recent years has led to dramatic increases in diagnosis, although it is unclear whether there have been true increases in incidence. Research regarding best diagnostic and treatment practices is limited. Long-term outcome for these individuals has been poor but appears to be improving. This article discusses the recent research regarding Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism, as well as current gaps in the literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Laura Arnstein Carpenter, PhD, BCBA is with the Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Latha Soorya, PhD, BCBA, and Danielle Halpern, PsyD, are with Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.

Address correspondence to: Laura Carpenter, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Pediatrics, 135 Rutledge Ave, MSC 567 PO Box 29425-5670, Charleston, SC 29425; fax 843-876-1518; or e-mail carpentl@musc.edu.

Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Soorya, and Dr. Halpern have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the distinguishing and overlapping features of Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  2. Review diagnostic strategies for suspected Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
  3. Identify the major treatment approaches for Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.

10.3928/00904481-20090101-01

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