Autism is a disorder that affects the way the brain processes information. People who are diagnosed with autism are often on a spectrum. The difference between low-functioning and high-functioning autism can be drastic, but both pose unique challenges for caregivers and parents. Working with someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can take great skill and expertise. Learning more about the signs of high-functioning autism can help caregivers assess whether a child or family member needs more support.

If you are feeling lost and worried about how to help a child or loved one with autism, you can turn to the experts at Fort Behavioral Health. Our fully-trained staff members are passionate about helping individuals with autism reach their full potential. We offer an understanding environment where people with high-functioning autism can work on any areas of life that need attention. Contact our admissions team at 844.332.1807 to learn more about our autism treatment program.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. It is a spectrum disorder, referring to a wide range of symptoms and levels of impairment that can vary from person to person. ASD affects one in 44 children in the United States and is diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls. Though autism in adolescents is common, a person can get diagnosed at any age.

No two people on the autism spectrum are exactly alike, as each individual has unique strengths and challenges associated with the disorder. Some people with ASD can live independently, while others require more support from family members or caregivers to function successfully. With proper treatment, education, and support, many individuals on the autism spectrum can lead happy and productive lives as adults.

High-functioning autism is neither a diagnosis nor a clinical term. It is simply an informal phrase that refers to individuals with ASD who can function daily without needing much help from caregivers. There has been some controversy surrounding the term, as some experts feel it puts high-functioning individuals with ASD at a disadvantage when receiving support for their condition.

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Autism?

People with high-functioning autism experience mild to moderate social interaction and communication impairments. They may also exhibit restricted and repetitive behaviors. The main signs of high-functioning autism include:

  • Social difficulties – Individuals may have difficulty reading nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, which can make it hard for them to understand the feelings and intentions of others. They may also struggle to initiate or maintain conversations compared to neurotypical individuals.
  • Communication difficulties – Those with high-functioning autism may struggle to express themselves verbally or understand verbal instructions. They may use words they don’t understand or mix their tenses when speaking. They also may be overly literal when interpreting language or take instructions too literally.
  • Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors – Individuals with high-functioning autism often become fixated on specific topics, interests, or activities and engage in repetitive behaviors. They may also become preoccupied with orderliness and routine, preferring to stick to strict schedules or rituals followed the same way every time.
  • Sensory issues – People with high-functioning autism are often overly sensitive to specific experiences, which can cause discomfort and distress, even when exposed to them at low-intensity levels. Some individuals may be susceptible to a particular taste or smell, while others may be particularly bothered by the texture of a specific type of fabric. This sensitivity is unique to the individual.

It is crucial for parents and caregivers of those diagnosed with high-functioning autism to seek professional help so they can provide appropriate support while helping individuals reach their potential in all areas of life.

Turn to Fort Behavioral Health for an Autism Treatment Program

At Fort Behavioral Health, we employ a complete team of specialists who are experts in addressing the needs of those with signs of high-functioning autism. We use a combination of behavioral therapy and education to help clients grow and reach their potential, no matter where they are on the autism spectrum. With the help of our treatment staff, individuals with ASD can thrive and manage their behavior. Call us at 844.332.1807 or complete our online form to learn more.


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