How Does Down Syndrome Differ from Asperger’s?

In conversation, Asperger’s and Down Syndrome are often confused and used interchangeably. While the two disorders do have a few similarities, they also have many differences and are two distinct diagnoses. In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, we’re shedding some light on the similarities and differences between Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is Down Syndrome?
In a typical human cell, the nucleus contains 23 pairs of chromosomes – with half of each chromosome being inherited from each parents. A person with Down Syndrome has a full or partial extra chromosome 21.

 

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, refers to a wide range of social, behavioral, and learning difficulties. Someone with a mild form of autism, also known as Asperger’s Syndrome, may experience minimal social anxiety, while someone with a more severe form of autism can be nonverbal and engage in frequent, repetitive behaviors.

 

Similarities

  • People with both disorders may have difficulty controlling their motor functions.
  • Verbal delays are often present in people with either disorder.

 

Differences

  • Down Syndrome can be diagnosed immediately after birth, while the signs of autism do not typically show until around age three.
  • Autism is considered more common than Down Syndrome. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 1 in 68 children has autism, while 1 in 700 children has Down Syndrome.
  • People with autism and Asperger’s typically avoid social situations, while those with Down Syndrome enjoy being with others and meeting new people.

Are you or someone you know looking to find your path on the way to success while having a learning disability? Debra Solomon of Spectrum Strategies helps young adults with autism, Asperger’s, and other learning disabilities identify their strengths and challenges to help find a job vocational program or school that best fits them!