If You Think You Might Have HFA/AS - Getting a Diagnosis

Because those people with HFA/AS who get to university are among the most high-functioning and able on the autistic spectrum, they are also the most likely to slip through the diagnostic net. Although many are diagnosed as children, others reach university un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed.

The key to getting an accurate diagnosis is finding a clinician who actually has experience diagnosing adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome (someone whose only experience is with "low-functioning" autism, or only with children, may be unhelpful). Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

It may also be useful to look at the page of Associated Conditions which describes conditions which can co-exist with HFA/AS, or which are sometimes diagnostically confused with HFA/AS. In some cases, people with HFA/AS get misdiagnosed with one of these, and presumably some people with these conditions get mistakenly diagnosed with HFA/AS.

Where To Go


The National Autistic Society have a Diagnostic and Assessment Service for all age-groups and ability levels, or you can contact them to find the nearest expert to you.


Dr Kaan Ozbayrak maintains a list of US clinicians who diagnose AS, but doesn't give any information on which of them have experience in diagnosing adults.

Other Countries:

Dr Ozbayrak also has a very short list of clinicians from other countries.

Your best bet may be to contact your national autistic society.

Part of the spectrum?

There are a few conditions which may be part of, or overlap with, the autistic spectrum. In some cases, researchers have suggested that these conditions are in fact simply labels for undiagnosed or very mild HFA/AS. Other researchers have argued that there are important differences, even if these groups are also part of the autistic spectrum. I have included these links as many "super-high-functioning" people may find themselves falling into one of these diagnostic battlefields. Hopefully, the "University Students With Autism and Asperger's Syndrome" site will also be useful for many people with these diagnoses.

American Hyperlexia Association - hyperlexia is a condition which overlaps with autism and AS, and is characterized by exceptionally early and fast reading. See these papers from the AHA on Peaceful Coexistence -- Autism, Asperger's, Hyperlexia and What's in a name?.
Autism, Asperger's syndrome and semantic-pragmatic disorder: Where are the boundaries? - a paper discussing whether Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder is really a separate condition or another name for mild autistic spectrum disorders.
Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms - schizoid personality is characterized by withdrawal from social interaction. Some researchers have suggested that it's AS under another name, while others disagree vehemently.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders - a paper from the O.A.S.I.S. site.

Return to the University Students With Autism And Asperger's Syndrome main page.