Evolving Definition of Autism Prompts Questions About Prevalence
June 19, 2018
By: Michelle R. Davis
Source: Disability Scoop
The latest government data shows that autism prevalence is on the rise, but a newly-adopted standard for diagnosing the developmental disorder may be muddying the numbers.
The definition of autism got a major overhaul in 2013 when the American Psychiatric Association adopted a new edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as DSM-5.
Under the updated manual, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified were folded under a broader diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, with clinicians indicating a level of severity. The revised criteria for autism — which some consider more restrictive — require both deficits in social communication and social interaction as well as restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities for a diagnosis. However, it also includes anyone who had a previous diagnosis of autism.