High-functioning Autism is a term for people with ASD who can speak, read, write, and handle basic life skills like anyone else. Many can attend regular schools and live relatively everyday lives. In fact, the term high-functioning autism is because they can still function in society, albeit with some mild difficulty.

The following are some common symptoms of high-functioning Autism:

Trouble with social interaction

While a person on the low-functioning end of the autism spectrum may have little to no interest in social interaction, a person with high-functioning Autism may want very much to interact with others but have trouble doing so. This can exhibit in many ways, such as not understanding personal space boundaries, appearing uninterested in others, or avoiding eye contact.

Research has shown that girls with high-functioning Autism are better at social interaction than boys, but both genders may still have difficulty in this area.

Repetitive and restrictive habit

A common symptom of high-end Autism is repetitive behavior, such as a strict daily routine. Many people with high-functioning Autism like to have a set schedule and routine and may not find it easy to deviate from that. Students with high-functioning Autism may have a favorite topic or activity and want to discuss it endlessly. Girls with high-functioning Autism tend to exhibit repetitive behaviors such as playing with hair more frequently.

The main reason for this is still unknown, but psychologists and therapists speculate that repetitive behaviors give a sense of control in an otherwise confusing and ever-changing world.

Emotional difficulties

Many people with high-functioning Autism have difficulty understanding or expressing emotions. This may appear as a flat or monotone voice, lack of facial expressions, or trouble understanding the emotions of others. A child with Autism receiving the news that a close friend is moving may not react similarly to his neurotypical peers.

But It is important to note that people with high-functioning Autism are not emotionless but may have trouble understanding and expressing them in the same way as neurotypical people.

Sensory Processing

While people with high-functioning Autism may not have the same severe sensory issues as those on the low-functioning end of the spectrum, many still have difficulty processing sensory information. This can manifest in many ways, such as being over-or under-sensitive to sound, light, touch, smell, or taste. It all depends on the individual. Some may seek out sensory input, while others may avoid it.


There is no correlation between Autism & intelligence. People with high-functioning Autism can have average, above average, or below-average intelligence. However, many people with high functioning ASD excel in certain areas, such as math or music. These are often referred to as autism savants. A  small percentage of people with high-functioning Autism are savants, meaning they have exceptional abilities in one area. Savant abilities can be present from a young age and often run in families.


While high-functioning Autism may not be as severe as low-functioning Autism, it can still be challenging for those with it. The good news is that many resources and therapies help people with ASD manage their symptoms and live happy, healthy, and prosperous lives.

If you speculate that you or your loved one may have high-functioning Autism, please speak to a doctor or mental health professional.

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