People with high functioning or high level autism can function normally in society, but may have some of the symptoms of autism. The condition is often called Asperger's syndrome, although some experts disagree on whether the two are synonymous. Symptoms can vary from person to person.
According to the clinical definition of high level autism, the autistic can speak and act normally in everyday society, while people who suffer from severe autism are defined as being unable to do so. Research has shown that people with high functioning autism typically have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 70 or above.
Social interaction problems are a symptom of all levels of autism. The high level autistic may appear serious and uncommunicative, although being this may only take the form of a lack of participation in small talk conversations. He or she may also have difficulty maintaining eye contact with others.
Individuals with high level autism tend to prefer routine and order. These symptoms may present themselves in early childhood. Personal relationships are often a problem, and affected individuals can sometimes be perceived by others as too geeky or intelligent. Rejection can lead to low self esteem.
Other symptoms may include irregularities with coordination and motor skills. These problems may be very low level and may only take the form of clumsiness in situations such as sports activities. Although the high level autistic may not express certain emotions, such as empathy, he or she is certainly capable of feeling them.
High level autistics may have advanced learning abilities. They are also often talented at problem solving, and many go on to careers in science and engineering. These people are often gifted academically and will do well if they have encouraging teachers. They are often extremely talented wordsmiths and have a great love of language. A passion for obscure subjects and an in-depth knowledge of these subjects can also be symptoms of high level autism.
It is unfortunate that many narrow-minded people simply dismiss the high level autistic as a nerd or boffin. People who are not aware of the problem can often make judgments without fully appreciating the situation. Autism is a complex disorder that affects about one person out of every 130.