High-functioning autism has no formal diagnosis. There’s no agreed definition as to what can be termed as high-functioning autism. But even then, the term usually includes either or some of the following conditions.
- A person having relatively milder symptoms of autism, which despite the mildness, have enough merit to fall under the spectrum.
- A person who has autism but with an IQ of 70 or above.
- Someone who has autism but can successfully work in a typical school or office environment.
- A person who can successfully mask the symptoms of autism and cane be passed off as a neuro-typical.
High-functioning autism varies from person to person. There are no common traits that can be found in people who have the condition. At the same time, a person may be bright and accomplished and yet have several major symptoms like sensory dysfunction or anxiety that affects their daily functioning.
The bottom line is that high-functioning autism is difficult to ascertain.
Until 2013, people who were believed to have high-functioning autism were usually diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) or Asperger’s syndrome. But that has been dismissed in the last five years because of the following reasons.
- Asperger’s was a distinct diagnosis that described persons having average or higher-average intelligence and language skills appropriate for their age. They also had major communication and social challenges.
- PDD-NOS, on the other hand, was considered a catch-all diagnosis. The diagnosis was often considered similar to high-functioning autism. It included individuals at all levels of functioning who symptoms didn’t correlate with the classic definition of autism.