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High functioning autism: what it is and how to recognize it


High-functioning autism is one of several forms of the autism spectrum. Let's find out what it is and why it is called that.

When we talk about high cognitive functioning autism, we mean a form of autism spectrum disorder not usually found in books but which has become increasingly common in common jargon. It is, in fact, a form of autism that does not prevent from carrying out normal daily actions and which occurs in people with an IQ ranging from at least 70.
Often, therefore, those who suffer from it may be completely unaware of it. This is why it can be very useful to know the symptoms in order to be able to identify them when they occur.

What are the symptoms of high functioning autism

This particular form of autism, as already mentioned, occurs in people who are able to live independently and carry out all normal daily tasks.
Nonetheless, its presence can make it difficult to face some moments of life, hinder social interaction and lead to various problems which, if not understood, can compromise the quality of life of those who suffer from it.


In order to learn to recognize or identify it, it is therefore very important to understand at least the main symptoms, which can be summarized as follows:

– Difficulty making friends
Anxiety and stress in the presence of social situations
– Difficulty maintaining eye contact
– Inability to interpret common social cues
– Repetition of gestures
– Difficulty in managing the daily routine

These are obviously just some of the many symptoms associated with this form of autism. In the case of high-functioning autism in adults, however, learning to recognize them could lead to faster recognition of this form of the autism spectrum. Which would make some ways of doing things that are considered strange or out of the norm more understandable (and manageable).

Although the causes are not yet known , it has recently been established that functional autism is different from Asperger's syndrome and that, at the same time, it is different from autism as we all know it.

What high functioning autism looks like in children and adults

We have already had the opportunity to talk about the autism spectrum in children . This, however, is different from the high-functioning one. In fact, the little ones manage to live in an almost completely normal way, tending to have problems only in social matters and sometimes in language.

Obviously there are also different ways of doing things such as repeating some words often or expressing oneself very freely on practically everything and without any preconceptions. It is also associated with a certain difficulty in managing strong emotions and in planning the actions to be carried out during the day.
Actions that also affect children without the autistic spectrum and which, therefore, make a diagnosis more difficult in childhood.

As far as adults are concerned, however, again for the same reason, it is possible that the diagnosis comes only in old age. Often, in fact, the above symptoms are considered as shyness , whimsical personality or similar. In some cases, a diagnosis can occur if high-functioning autism is accompanied by stressful situations that make the symptoms more evident.

Having said that, since it is mostly a way of "functioning" that is different from the others but not pathological, it is more than possible to live with it.

Therapy for high functioning autism

Since it is not a disease but a different way of perceiving things, high-functioning autism does not require real therapy unless it is associated with ways of doing things that can worsen the quality of life.

In general, it is believed that the best choice is to establish a psychological approach aimed at making the person understand what their reality is and thus making them feel less alone.
Once you understand that you have an autism spectrum of this type, several questions may arise that it is very useful to address with those who really know the subject.

In this regard, the so-called mindfulness has proved to be very useful , able to help individuals with high-functioning autism to find alternative ways of doing things than repetitive or automatic ones. And all for the sole purpose of living better in society and to face some situations with less stress. However, it is also true that in recent times there has been an increasingly demonstrated importance of accepting and explaining this form of autism in order to be able to live as naturally as possible.

Famous people with high functioning autism

Many people wonder who the famous people with high functioning autism are. And this is because it is an increasingly common thought that many are able to emerge precisely because of their particular way of living and feeling the outside world. Among the best known characters we mention:

Susanna Tamaro
– Greta Thunberg
—Anthony Hopkins
– Charles Darwin
– Bill Gates
– Satoshi Tajiri (Creator of Pokemon)
– Andy Warhol
– Dan Aykroyd
– Lewis Carrol

Although not all of them have been ascertained, it is a common opinion that they are (or have been) people on the autistic spectrum.

Beyond the famous people who demonstrate how you can even excel in a unique way in the artistic field and beyond, high-functioning autism represents a real way of being that should be fully embraced and addressed (even better understood). only in order to be able to live better with others and, more importantly, with themselves.

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