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11th June 2023.

bugSurvey pdf file links on the Data Tracking Facility have been updated.


High Functioning Autism (HFA), defined

Let's start at the beginning. The group of professionals who diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms prefer distinct diagnostic categories to ensure the most accurate identification.

The term ASD is used to help explain the wide variation between individuals regarding the severity and combination of each impairment. To add to complexities, ASD can coexist with other conditions; intellectual disability, anxiety and depression, speech and language disorders, epilepsy, attention disorders, Tourette syndrome, etc.

ASD is used to group together -

There are also 3 more relatively clear-cut disorders under the ASD banner. They are;

However, we often hear about High Functioning Autism (HFA). What is it?

It is not an official diagnostic term and is not a recognised in the DSM-IV. It is used to describe an individual who meets the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism, but is not as severely affected as the typical autistic person. HFA is a subjective term because there's no agreed upon definition of what 'high functioning' really means. Nevertheless, it is a helpful diagnosis that guides families towards appropriate treatment and school placement.

Guidelines to support and treat children identified with HFA


There is no single solution to addressing HFA. The best approach is to seek early identification, and cleverly plan layers of interventions to support the needs of the child. These usually include the development of social, behavioural, communication and motor skills. Here are a few ideas as starters;

Valuable links to websites on High Functioning Autism (HFA)