Thursday, February 11, 2010

Asperger's No More (No PDD, Either)

The American Psychiatric Association is working on the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V, which would replace the current version, DSM-IV. As part of the revision process, the APA is considering a new approach to Autistic Spectrum Disorders, where all the disorders will be given the same diagnosis, without categorizing them into autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) or any other category. Autistics will still get the treatments they need, and might even get better care, because it will be custom tailored to each one's needs, rather to the label they got.

This is a very smart move. The lines between the different autistic categories are quite blurry, and a person can fit one category at a certain age and then move to another as he grows older. My nephew, for instance, who has an autism diagnosis, is now almost like a non-autistic kid. Is he an Aspie? Does he fit the description of PDD-NOS? He doesn't fit perfectly into either one. He's an extremely high functioning autistic kid. That's it.

The DSM-V is also going to have revised criteria for an autism diagnosis. I'm not sure I'm crazy about what is being proposed, but I'm not an expert either. For more information, you should check out a New York Times op-ed on the matter and Sullivan's post at Left Brain/Right Brain.


  1. Nice information provided in the article which helps people to know the other type which has been diagnosed. Asperger syndrome people can lead a normal life and with appropriate medication children with Asperger Syndrome will not have to experience.

  2. Not only people with Asperger's Syndrome, but also individuals with other forms of high-functioning autism can lead normal lives, often without medication.