What is Mild Asperger's?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Asperger’s is considered a mild form on the autism spectrum, since a person with Asperger’s will often be able to function in situations that someone with a more severe form of the illness will not be able to handle. A person with classic autism will act inappropriately at times, and often engage in strange repetitive motions such as hand flapping or spinning. A person with mild Asperger’s may merely be considered eccentric or socially inept.

This syndrome is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. A pervasive developmental disorder is an illness that is defined by a delay in a child’s ability to function in normal situations involving basic skills such as socialization and communication. Autism spectrum disorder affects a child’s ability to interact with others and to react appropriately to social situations and other stimuli. There are varying degrees of illness on the autism spectrum, and this disorder can be severe, as in autism, or mild, as in Asperger’s syndrome.


Most children on the autism spectrum usually manifest symptoms by the age of three, but children with mild Asperger’s may not be diagnosed until they are older. The reason for this is that children with mild Asperger’s may reach their developmental milestones at the usual age, so any problems might not become obvious until they start school. This is when children with mild Asperger’s may begin to demonstrate difficulties in social interaction due to their inability to read body language, make eye contact, and respond to social cues. They may have difficulty following instructions and carrying on a conversation.

A child with Asperger’s may want to have friends but be unable to form relationships because of his or her difficulty in recognizing social cues. For example, the child may not recognize when the other person isn’t interested in the topic of conversation and wants to leave, or may not recognize the concept of personal space. A child with mild Asperger’s may become obsessed with a single topic, and bore others by speaking about it nonstop. The Asperger’s child may not be able to comprehend another person’s emotions and might respond inappropriately with such behaviors as laughing when someone is upset or walking away while the other person is still speaking. With therapy, a person with mild Asperger’s can learn how to respond appropriately in social situations, and most people with mild Asperger’s are able to become successful, functional adults.


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Post 5

I've read recently that Asperger's is going to be just grouped together with autism, which makes sense because autism is a spectrum disorder so it runs the gamut from mild to severe. Why change the name and confuse everyone when it is a form of autism. Just call it that. I'm OK with this.

What I'm not OK with is dismissing this developmental disorder as some kind of mild "symptom" of autism, like passive aggressive behavior. This is a cognitive impairment, not a behavior problem! What you see in someone with this disorder who is functioning in a "high functioning" kind of way is often good impression management and that's about it as far as their relational skills go. They

have learned by rejection over the years what skills they need to imitate in order to get along -- to succeed at work, at home, in a relationship. People with autism of any kind are missing the ability for normal cognition. They are impaired in many areas of cognitive skills in relationships. This makes them a very bad risk in marriage and parenting and leadership roles.

I am really tired of reading information about autism which is misleading to the normal neurologically typical person. This disorder should not be sugar coated, by calling it "mild." The ability to empathize, along with the natural instincts called "theory of mind" which is missing in people with any kind of autism, mild or otherwise, eventually come out, and are damaging to the psyches of everyone around them.

People should be forewarned in a realistic and intelligent way about getting involved with anyone who has autism when they do not. I think it is best for people who have autism to stick with other people who have autism. They have a much better chance of getting along and understanding each other.

Post 4

Thank you for this article. My son has mild Asperger's but the doctor who suggested it to me many years ago, was compelled to call it ADHD with ODD as the medical fraternity where I lived at the time was not too clued up or not too keen on calling it Asperger's, for some reason.

In the 13 years that I have had to live with my son in this condition, I've never had peace of mind, until I too got out of my denial and asked for medical advice (from another country). Now we have coping mechanisms and can really move forward in teaching him how to 'feel' for the next person, how to speak when the time is right and not get too anxious and then angry and destructive when he simply has to wait for something.

Post 3

@feruze-- As far as I know, Asperger's is a kind of autism. So if you think of autism as the general category, Asperger's is one of the subcategories of autism. The article is just saying that Asperger's in general, is a mild type of autism.

Asperger's syndrome itself can be mild, moderate or severe. There is no such thing that all Asperger's are mild. Maybe even these categories are kind of limiting. I personally think that it's more like a continuum and I am somewhere on there.

I don't know if doctors would agree with me on this, but I think as people with Asperger's get behavioral therapy and improve themselves, their Asperger's is becoming more mild. Because

Asperger's is defined and diagnosed based on symptoms. So if symptoms decrease or if some symptoms disappear altogether, you could go from severe Asperger's to moderate and moderate to mild Aspergers.

I used to have a much harder time with social interactions when I was young. It has gotten a lot better. I'd like to believe that I'm slowly moving to the milder side of the continuum.

Post 2

@feruze-- I don't think that's right. I have mild Asperger's which means that I have many of the symptoms of Asperger's but it's mild.

For example, I have some difficulty with social interactions, I'm sensitive to some lights and sounds, coordination and paying attention can be difficult. I can also stay preoccupied with myself for very long periods of time. But these are not a huge hindrance for my life and my interactions.

I know that there are more serious Asperger's where these symptoms are more of a problem because they prevent social interactions altogether and make it more difficult to succeed at whatever one is wanting to do.

Some people with mild Asperger's syndrome can be so close to normal that they can be misdiagnosed with social anxiety disorder or something else.

Post 1

Okay, let me see if I understood this correctly. All cases of Asperger's syndrome are mild right? Because more severe cases are no longer called Asperger's but autism?

I didn't know this at all. There was a guy in one of my classes who had this syndrome. He was a really intelligent guy and could memorize and remember things that most people can't. All his limitations were social just like the article said.

He was just awkward when you tried to talk to him. He would turn his head elsewhere and never look at your eyes. He talked really fast sometimes and sometimes slowly. But I do agree that it was very mild. I mean, mild Asperger's didn't prevent him from going to school and passing his tests. And he had friends too, his intelligence and naivete was really nice and refreshing actually. He was funny too.

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