Editors Note: An important example of the difference between Autism, Aspergers and a learning / intellectual disability.
John Miller, 47, is a teacher of language arts to students with autism in a mainstream setting at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Miller, himself, is on the autism spectrum, having been diagnosed while in college with Asperger’s syndrome, which is defined by the nonprofit Autism Speaks as an Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the range. In this post, Miller describes the painful, extraordinary path he was forced to walk as a child who was different, but whose condition was misunderstood.
The nonprofit Autism Society describes Autism spectrum disorder as a complex developmental disability, with signs that typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. There is no known single cause of autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report in March 2014 that concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys.
The Autism Society describes Asperger’s syndrome like this:
What distinguishes Asperger’s Disorder from classic autism are its less severe symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may be only mildly affected, and they frequently have good language and cognitive skills. To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger’s Disorder may just seem like a neurotypical child behaving differently.
Children with autism…