A comparative study of Asperger syndrome with high-functioning atypical autism


Department of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan.


Abstract To test the validity of Asperger syndrome (AS) as defined in ICD-10, 26 patients (age range, 3.5 to 12 years) with AS and 16 patients (age range, 3 to 11.5 years) with high-functioning (IQ > 90) ICD-10 atypical autism (HAA) were compared on 64 clinical variables including obstetric risk factors, early developmental landmarks, IQ, autistic symptoms on the CARS-TV, epileptic EEG abnormalities and epilepsy. AS did not differ significantly from HAA on all but total and four item scores (i.e. imitation, visual responsiveness, auditory responsiveness and non-verbal communication) on the CARS-TV, in which AS scored significantly lower than HAA. A discriminant function based on imitation and auditory responsiveness predicted 76.2% of the 42 cases. The small difference from HAA indicates that AS is better to be regarded as the highest-functioning end of the PDD spectrum, rather than a valid subtype of PDD. However, the autistic symptom profile less distorted in AS than HAA may warrant a further study on its validity. The author thanks Tomoko Nakano and Kaoru Katsuno in the Nerima Welfare Center for the Mentally and Physically Handicapped, Hiromi Ishida and Takiko Anzai in the Kawasaki Central District Center of Remedial Education, and Yoko Hayashi in the National Welfare Foundation for Disabled Children for their assistance in data collection