People with Asperger's syndrome have milder autism symptoms. They often have eccentric or obsessive interests and they generally lack social skills. However, they do not typically have intellectual disabilities or language difficulties. They may even excel, especially in an area of interest. Children with Asperger's syndrome may avoid eye contact, be uncomfortable in social situations, and miss obvious social cues. They usually dislike change and prefer to follow the same routine, such as eating the same breakfast day after day. They may make repetitive movements and display a flat affect (lack of emotion). Many famous people, including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daryl Hannah, Susan Boyle, and Dan Akroyd, have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
Some people display the social or communication difficulties associated with autism, but to a lesser extent. They also do not fulfill all the criteria for a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's syndrome. Depending on their symptoms, they may be diagnosed with atypical autism, or pervasive developmental disorder. The label is less important than treating the individual and helping him or her to overcome any social and communication challenges.
People on the autism spectrum display disorders in the development of language and interpersonal skills. Many, but not all, have an intellectual disability. Unusual behaviors, repetitive movements, and obsessive interests are also common. Typically, a child with autism spectrum disorder will not respond to his name by 12 months of age, will avoid eye contact and want to be alone, get upset by minor changes, spin in circles or rock repetitively, and react unusually to sights, sounds, tastes, or smells.