Accelify Blog

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.

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