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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
June 2013

DSM-5 Now Released!

On May 27, 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, also known as the DSM-5, was released. The DSM-5 is the guidebook used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify disorders. One of the most important revisions to this book is the change made to the definition of autism. The revision represents a new, more accurate, and scientific definition as it is based on years of research.

The DSM-5 will now use the term Autism Spectrum Disorder to represent any person with an autism-related condition and will allow clinicians to indicate a level of severity based on the level of need exhibited by the individual. The change reflects the belief that all the previous separate conditions of Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are actually one single disorder with different levels of abilities with behaviors falling on a continuum. For a person to meet criteria for the new definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder they will need to demonstrate deficits in social communication and social interaction AND have a presence of restricted repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. Anyone diagnosed with any of the four disorders from the DSM-IV should still meet the criteria for ASD in the DSM-5 or another, more accurate DSM-5 diagnosis. Further, if a child has been identified with autism in the educational arena and is receiving special education services, this new definition will not result in any changes.

For more information regarding the DSM-5, please visit the American Psychiatric Association website and this Factsheet on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

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