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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;19(6):475-81. doi: 10.1007/s00787-009-0057-0. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism: language, motor and cognitive profiles.

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Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Augsburg, Germany.


The objective of this study is to compare the cognitive profile, the motor and language functioning and the psychosocial adaptation of children with Asperger syndrome (AS) and with high-functioning autism (HFA). Subjects were recruited through the department Autism and Developmental Disorders of the Heckscher-Klinikum. To be included in the study, the full-scale-IQ had to be at least 80. Subjects with AS had to have a normal early language development and subjects with HFA a clear delay in language development, as reported by their parents. The sample consisted of 57 children with Asperger syndrome and 55 children with high-functioning autism. The mean age of the children was 10 years. All subjects were examined with a standardised test battery. Children with AS had a higher full-scale-IQ than children with HFA. This was due to a higher verbal-IQ. There were no significant differences in the performance-IQ. At a mean age of 10 years, subjects with AS had better language skills than subjects with HFA, but at least 30% showed clear receptive language problems. Motor problems were present in about 50% of the children with AS and HFA. The level of psychosocial adaptation was clearly reduced, but was comparable for the two groups. The differences in verbal-IQ and language skills between the two groups could be explained through the definition of the syndromes. The presence of language problems in the subjects with AS at age 10, the comparable degree of motor impairment and level of psychosocial adaptation question the validity of the distinction between AS and HFA within the category of pervasive developmental disorders.

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