Recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome(AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA)

Recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome(AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) can be a complex task and involve many specialists.

Recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome(AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) is not hard to recognize. If you are wondering if your child may have one of these conditions, look at a few of the most common symptoms:


  • Problems coping in new social situations
  • “Meltdowns” or what people would consider a heavy and intense tantrum
  • Sights, sounds, tastes and smells that create a sense of oversensitivity
  • Intense preoccupation and interest in one subject.
  • Small changes, even the smallest of transitions, become overwhelming.
  • Intense obsession with routine


These are just a few of the many issues AS or HFA children deal with every day.  Parents also face many difficult situations.  Many parents dread going out in public with their child.  While it is easy to feel this way, AS and HFA children need more practice in public than the normal child.  As parents, we become desperate to find a diagnosis or just help with your child.

As a family, we struggled for many years trying to understand Teddy or find a doctor or counselor to help us, help him.  Teddy had almost all the symptoms from above but with his own special quirks.Recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome(AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) did not come naturally. We needed help and lots of it.


Problems Coping in New Social Situations

When we would go to a new restaurant or visit friends at a new location, we had to prepare in advance.  We would prepare Teddy as best we could by describing and practicing how to deal with the new experience.  This preparation was very helpful, but it did not always work as well as we would have liked. I would highly recommend trying this it was very helpful but not always a cure.


“Meltdowns” or What People Would Consider a Heavy and Intense Tantrum

By preparing your child in advance you can avoid Meltdowns.  After Teddy was old enough to talk to and prepare we did not have as many Meltdowns.  But, there are always occasions you cannot prepare for in advance.  When Teddy was in Junior High, we were invited to an anniversary party for my nephew and his wife.  The had reserved a party room at  It was a lovely party and we had talked about seeing all his relatives.  Seeing so many people did not bother him but, the floor to ceiling photographs and loud noises started to bother him right away.  My husband took him to the restroom hoping to help him calm down.  Great idea, but it did not work.  We were in a location that was sight, smell and sound wise, overly too stimulating for him to cope.  We said goodbye and were forced to leave because of too much stimulation and a “Major Meltdown.”


Sights, Sounds, Tastes and Smells that Create a Sense of Oversensitivity

The anniversary party “Meltdown” was caused by sights, sounds, tastes and smells that created oversensitivity. We have also had to deal with teachers who over-decorated their classrooms.  To the average person the classrooms are fun and friendly but, to a parent of a child with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism a colorful classroom with information and decoration, it is a nightmare. These classrooms can cause Meltdowns in our children.


Intense Preoccupation and Interest in One Subject

When Teddy was very young he obsessed about dinosaurs.  As he grew older he became fascinated with Walt Disney and Walt Disney World.  He is still fascinated with Disney.  Luckily, great amounts of information are released everyday about Walt Disney World. He reads about Disney World and listens to music from all Disney Movies and the attractions from The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He also plans and preplans for trips to the Magic Kingdom. He loves to give advice to people who are planning a trip.  This can be overwhelming to most people.  We work together to tone down his excitement. Teddy is always planning a trip.


Small Changes, Even the Smallest of Transitions, Become Overwhelming.

This is one of the most difficult issues we face.  Most days do not go as planned.  Even the weather can change our day and become overwhelming.  If we plan to go to a park or swimming the next day and it rains, we are dealing with a bad transition that can turn into a Meltdown.  When it storms and the electric goes out it becomes overwhelming.  These occasions cannot be prevented and we as parents must be ready to deal with transitions.


Intense Obsession with Routine

Many people like a daily routine. Routine can become obsessive.  If you must get up at the same time and eat the same food you may be becoming obsessive.  If you have clothes for each day of the week and want to eat certain foods because it is a certain day of the week you may be becoming obsessive.  If you must watch your television shows in the same order every day and become flustered because of changed television programing you may becoming obsessive.  But, if you do all the routine listed above you are probably dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism.


These Were the First Symptoms We Wrote Down

We have discovered that this was where we started.  We have dealt with many more quirks and issues since Teddy was finally diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.  Each child has their own quirks and signals that tell a family that they are different or “Special Needs.”  While I spent four days after his diagnosis crying, my husband and I realized that no doctor can predict your child’s future.  My son is incredibly intelligent and has now graduated from college.  The doctor did not predict this, as a matter of fact everyone who has “diagnosed” his future has been wrong.  Only God and time can predict where you and your child will go!


While it was devastating to discover our child was “Special Needs.”

We have come to love Teddy’s differences.  He can remember anything he is told.  We tell him phone numbers to remember because we will not be able to remember them.  He can also tell us word for word what we have missed if we go to the restroom during a movie.  Every child, “Special Needs” or “normal” is unique.  Everyone loves Teddy. He has a wonderful gift of talking to and helping senior citizens.  He is becoming very wise from all of his older friends.  He has first-hand learned about WWII because he has friends that were veterans and lived through the war.


We will continue to share our families journey with you.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions and let us know how your beloved child is unique.  We look forward to hearing from you and your family. Please feel free to become a Piece of Frost.