What Are the Differences Between Aspergers and Autism

This universe is incredibly diverse. Every snowflake or fingerprint is unique. Human personalities vary too, depending on a host of different factors. 

Over recent years there has been much research into the subject of Asperger's Syndrome and Autism. The definitions have not been set in stone, but are constantly changing as research progresses. Someone who is unfamiliar with the subject may ask what each of them mean, and how they are different. We will take a look at this together right now.

difference between autism and aspergers

Aspergers’ Syndrome

Whilst the symptoms and intensity will vary from person to person, certain characteristics are discernable. According to the experts at many people are looking for online questionnaires to obtain a diagnosis. This is because it’s not always easy getting an official one. Folk are actively searching for FAQs and free courses on the subject. They also want to know what their test scores mean. 

A person with Aspergers’ may have issues verbally communicating, and understanding body language. Maintaining eye contact may not be easy. They take things literally, and battle to understand humour or figurative speech.  

Someone with Aspergers’ will struggle to appreciate that other people have thoughts and feelings. As a result they may appear odd or rude. They may say things that are not appropriate for the setting, or laugh at the wrong moment. A person may keep saying the same thing repetitively. 

Such a person will frequently be obsessive about a specific subject, having an in depth knowledge about it. People with Aspergers’ may be sensitive to loud noises, bright lights or textures, tastes and smells.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Interestingly, the symptoms mentioned above also relate to people with ASD. To ask whether someone has Aspergers’ or Autism is like asking if something is an Ostrich or a bird. 

The fact is that ASD has several subtypes. Aspergers’ is one such subcategory. It rests under the Autism umbrella. Whilst the two conditions have been treated as separate in the past, this has changed. To be diagnosed as having Asperger’s is being diagnosed as being on the Autistic spectrum. 

In terms of the diagnoses, some folk with Aspergers’ strongly identify with the Aspergers’ label rather than the Autistic one. They may also say that Aspergers’ is who they are rather than being something that is medically wrong and needing treatment. In that sense they are denying that it is a disability; but more a case of alternative mental wiring

Function Levels

Someone who has Aspergers’ is living with HFA (Higher Functioning Autism). This means they may need less help and support than an Autistic person. Their condition is therefore of a milder or less severe variety. 

Having said that, life can be an uphill struggle for people with Aspergers’, and some individuals cope better than others as they progress through life.

Language Impairment

People with Aspergers’ are better at maintaining eye contact than those with Autism. 

Aspergers’ Syndrome does not affect a person’s ability to talk in the way that classical Autism does. A person with Aspergers’ will probably be of higher than average intelligence, and conversant in grammar and vocabulary. They may have an issue expressing their words and emotions, however. 

In contrast, some people with Autism experience delayed language and communication. Their development in this area may be protracted, and even non-existent.


People with Aspergers’ have higher IQs than those with Autism. The ratings for the latter are characteristically below average. The abilities of folk with Aspergers’ may be in a wide range of activities, such as computer science, music, mathematics, technology or the arts. 

People with Aspergers’ demonstrate an intense capacity to concentrate and to collate facts and figures. They frequently have strong memories.


Someone living with Aspergers’ is more likely to be unhappy about their condition. This is because they know something is not right, and how things could or should be. It is this sense of missing out that can make a person become depressed and unhappy with their lot in life. 

In contrast, someone with Autism will be living in a kind of cocoon. They will be less aware of the world around them and their difference in relation to it. 

People with Aspergers’ and Autism can have much in common. Scientifically there is no genetic test that can say the two conditions are separate; there is no such bio marker. In the future, who knows? They will either remain grouped together or be separated once more.

Susan Harris

By Susan Harris

Susan Harris is the owner of Rooted Mama Health. She is the mother to two amazing children and wife of a loving husband. She strives to provide the world with all the information they need to live a happy and health lifestyle.