Are You AS or HFA?

An adult wrote to an online forum listing a variety of his characteristics and asked whether the accumulation sounding like AS (Asperger's Syndrome) or HFA (High-Functioning Autism).

I responded:

It sounds like autism.

There is no definition of AS that works for everybody, unless you accept the "HFA without significant language-delay" definition. And if you do, you're stuck with the fact that there is incredible diversity among those who do and don't fit that definition of AS. Some people who had "no significant language delay" as children, as adults "look HFA." While some who did have "significant langguage-delay" as children, as adults "look AS."

It all gets very subjective. Not to mention the fact that a person may be "HFA" one day and "AS" the next, or "HFA" according to one "expert" and "AS" according to another. The way we function may change markedly over time, may seesaw up and down, and is likely to be affected as much by our surroundings as by what's inside.