Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects behavioral skills, social interaction skills and communication skills of the affected person. There are different levels of autism and high functioning autism (HFA) refers to the least severe form of autism. A person with high functioning autism displays the symptoms of autism but has average or above average intelligence.
Most commonly, the signs of high functioning autism are observed by parents and medical professionals in the early childhood. Still, sometimes high functioning autism is first diagnosed in adulthood. High functioning autism is not accompanied by obvious signs of cognitive delay and the affected individuals can speak, read and write. On the other hand, the person may have difficulties related to social interaction.
Symptoms of High Functioning Autism in Children
Children suffering from high functioning symptoms do not show visible symptoms of autism. There are no physical signs of the disorder and the affected children can generally function well. However, such children may be oversensitive to textures, sounds, sights, smells and other stimuli.
Also, children with high functioning autism do not avoid social interaction and like to be involved with others but usually have problem starting or maintaining a conversation. They often like to stick to a single topic in which they are obsessively interested.
Anxiety and depression are commonly seen in children with high functioning autism and this is mainly caused by extreme fears buried deep inside. There may be delay in language skills but once the child acquires that skill his vocabulary is equally good as in others. However, they may have slower flow of speech during conversation.
Usually, the affected children do not read body language and facial expression. Also, they may not be able to understand emotions of other people.
Motor skills and physical coordination skills may be also impaired in children suffering from high functioning autism. This will usually display as clumsiness during sport activities but does not interfere in everyday activities.
Symptoms of High Functioning Autism in Adults
Adult individuals with high functioning autism often have difficulties in socializing as they do not feel as a part of typical autism community and do not feel comfortable with general society. Adults suffering from HFA may lack skills when it comes to interacting with others and often appear unapproachable. Due to social awkwardness they usually appear arrogant and odd.
Furthermore, these individuals may exhibit a need for repetition. This can manifest as constantly repeating a sound, gesture or part of a previous conversation. High functioning autism may cause mood changes and emotional outbursts since the affected individual has strong emotions but fails to express them. Additionally, adults with HFA tend to suffer from depression and low self esteem because they have issues with personal relationship.