Jenny Bristol, Homeschooling Parent, Writer, and Editor
Is there a difference between autism and Asperger's? What about being "on the spectrum"? Does this usually mean someone is high-functioning?
It used to be that Asperger's was a different diagnosis from autism or high-functioning autism, but the most recent DSM manual has combined Asperger's in with autism as a diagnosis. Though some sources say that Asperger's and high-functioning autism are different diagnoses, in practice these days often the two terms are used interchangeably. It may depend on the professionals who determine the diagnosis.
If someone has Asperger's, generally they exhibit some of a group of symptoms or personality traits that fit the Asperger's profile, and generally they are a pretty high-functioning individual. Autism, as a term, describes a much broader spectrum of symptoms, and people with autism can range from very high-functioning to very low-functioning or anywhere in between.
Being "on the spectrum" just means that the person lies somewhere on the autism spectrum. It doesn't necessarily mean they are high-functioning. It could mean that they are low-functioning, or somewhere in the middle. It is an unspecific term.
I hope this helps!