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What are the characteristics of high-functioning autism?

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Difficulty with language skills and social interaction are two characteristics of people with high-functioning autism, states About.com. High-functioning autism, which is not an actual medical diagnosis, describes people who may be very intelligent and accomplished, yet exhibit odd behaviors and reactions that are different from what is considered normal.

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People with high-functioning autism may or may or may not have a higher IQ than their peers, but can face significant challenges in living a comfortable life, succeeding in romance or achieving a sense of self-worth, notes About.com. People at the higher end of the autism spectrum can experience sensitivity to noise, crowds, bright lights, and strong tastes and smells. Those with this type of autism may have difficulty picking up on social clues, maintaining a conversation or engaging in play.

Generally said, a person with high-functioning autism means a person with relatively mild symptoms, yet severe enough to impact daily functioning, according to About.com. Anxiety when walking into a crowded restaurant and being unable to cope with malls, stadiums and other crowded venues are characteristics of high-functioning autism. Anxiety, depression and other mood disorders are not uncommon, and there may be difficulty in scheduling and planning routine activity. People with autism, in general, have trouble with transition and change.

High-functioning autism is not clearly understood, and people are generally given the diagnosis of Level I Autism Spectrum Disorder for high-functioning autism.

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