Of all the Autism Spectrum Disorders, Borderline Autism is one of the most complex developmental disorders to diagnose.
Borderline Autism Symptoms
This article would cover most of the widely known symptoms of High Functioning or Borderline Autism. However, the quickest way to find out whether you (or your child) have borderline autism is to take one of our online Autism tests for your age group. You can use our Autism Test wizard below to automatically get redirected to one of our tests. Else, scroll down to continue reading.
Challenges around Borderline Autism Diagnosis
Autism diagnosis, in itself, is quite complex due to the lack on clear medical tests (like blood sampling, MRI, etc) and practitioners need to heavily rely on strong behavioral symptoms across the various types of autism spectrum in order to confirm a positive diagnosis. Additionally, certain symptoms of Autism overlap with psychological disorders – thereby adding a new layer of complexity.
Blend these complexities with that of borderline autism, and there you have it – a perfect recipe for a highly complex set of diagnostic requirements which in most cases would be only 50% accurate the first time!
The reason being, that in order to be diagnosed with borderline autism, the person must display many of the symptoms of autism, but NOT to a level severe enough to be diagnosed autistic. With borderline autism, symptoms are transient in nature without any predictable patterns; they may appear, fade away and suddenly re-appear – all in matter of months.
Characteristics of Classical Autism
Borderline Autism Symptoms
As you can see from the above two comparisons, the borderline autism symptoms are less severe and infrequent than classical autism. Also, unlike normal autism symptoms, the signs of borderline autism do not necessarily deteriorate as the kid moves from childhood to adulthood. The symptoms that are generally exhibited in borderline autism are:
- Language and sensory development issues
- Social and Communication skill problems
- Ability to adapt and make transitions
- Minor motor impairments (mind-body coordination)
Diagnosis of Borderline Autism in Children and Toddlers
The only way to diagnose Borderline or High Functioning Autism is via:
- Direct observation of the child over a prolonged period
- Behavioral information and feedback provided by parents/teachers and close family members
- Developmental Screening for Autistic trends
Although the following symptoms are looked at in diagnosing borderline autism, the severity of each issue is also looked at while determining whether the child is borderline or classical autistic.
Children with borderline autism often show a desire to communicate and engage in play. However, they lack some of the intricate skills to do so. Autistic children will, in general, be uninterested. Children that are borderline autistic may engage in social conversation however they have difficulty moving from subject to subject which some people may take as being rude.
Language and Learning Impairments
Borderline autistic children have delayed language development but not to the same extent as of autistic children. They may also exhibit minor learning disabilities. However, for kids with borderline autism, learnability could be significantly improved by the use of behavior and concentration therapies.
Borderline autistic children often become obsessive with patterns and repetitive behavior and play. Even though they engage in repetitive behavior, it is less extreme than children with autism. Toddlers that are borderline autistic may have a specific attachment to an odd item such as liking door knobs, keys, lamps…
Adaptability to Transition & Change
Children with Borderline Autism may have difficulty changing their focus to a new task. While a borderline child may exhibit extreme annoyance to interruptions, autistic children, on the other hand, may not care or pay attention to such interruptions.
Sensory Processing Issues
Borderline autistic children may also have difficulty in physical coordination thus limiting their participation in sports and other extracurricular activities. Smells and sounds may trigger a reaction but not as severe as someone with autism or sensory integration disorder. Please read the following articles on sensory issues:
- Detailed Report on Sensory Integration Disorder
- Sensory Integration Disorder Symptoms
- Incorporating the right dose of sensory input in everyday activities
- Sensory Activities for Autism
Every child is a unique personality! It is not being “overprotective” to keep an eye for early signs of borderline autism. Many parents are hesitant to pursue a diagnosis of bordering autism with their physician or school, fearing their child will be labeled for life.
Resources to Help with HFA and Borderline Autism
Many parents with children having borderline, High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s have found Suzane’s ULTIMATE Guide eBook extremely handy. Click on the image below to learn more.
Borderline Autism Treatment Options
MUST READ: How PECS Communication System for Autism can Help!
Children diagnosed with borderline autism can benefit from occupational, speech and behavior therapy. Under the diagnosis of borderline autism, your child is entitled to all the treatments and therapies that are available. Under the listings in the DSM5, borderline autism is considered appropriate to bill Insurance carriers for therapy.
There is one good note to keep in mind. A borderline autism diagnosis gives your child the freedom to know how they feel and that they are not failures. The best news is, that once your child is confirmed with borderline autism, they receive best available therapy covered by insurances, enjoys the benefits of special coaching through the school system at no cost to you and the diagnosis is removed from your child’s record upon entering Kindergarten or first grade (depending on the state or country you live in).
Don’t fight the diagnosis! Get the assistance your child needs and is entitled to. Their school record will not contain any traces of Autism Spectrum Disorder as borderline autism is usually treatable as the child mainstreams into his age appropriate classes.
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