Posts Tagged ‘ Asperger Syndrome ’

2013 and … Autism

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Two themes stand out when I reflect on autism research in 2013.

First, there was substantial debate about how we diagnose autism, primarily spurred by changes introduced in DSM-5 (which was published in May). The reformulation of the diagnostic criteria – which led to a discontinuation of the category of Asperger Syndrome in favor of a broad-based category of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – spurred concerns that many youth would no longer qualify for a diagnosis and hence have their intervention options limited. Others suggested that more precise diagnostic criteria are needed to ensure that ASD does not get overdiagnosed. While we await empirical resolution via publication of well-designed studies, it’s clear that the DSM-5 debate will stand out as an important time in which we wrestled (again) with the best way to be inclusive in diagnosis without expanding diagnostic criteria too broadly.

Second, we are seeing more research on the early diagnosis of ASD, or at least detection of early warning signs, using methods like tracking eye movements of babies when looking at a human face. While this line of work will need to continue to refine the validity and feasibility of the approach – particularly when studying infants – it is an intriguing approach that may eventually have important implications for delivering interventions in the first year of life. Given the proven utility of early intervention, the hope is that the earliest interventions may hold the most promise for promoting development.

Wherever these research directions take us, we know for sure that early detection and intervention is essential. That’s one message that has not changed in 2013.


Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

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The Proposed Diagnostic Criteria For Autism Spectrum Disorder In DSM-5

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Given the recent debate surrounding the way Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD-NOS will be lumped together in the future DSM-5 – and whether it will exclude youth who require intervention – it is important that parents and advocates become very familiar with the currently proposed diagnostic criteria so that they can make their opinions known. 

Please click here to see the proposed diagnostic criteria in detail as published on the DSM-5 website. Keep in mind that 4 general criteria will all have to be met to receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (which will be the only diagnostic category available). These are:

Persistent deficits in social communication

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities

Symptoms must be present in early childhood

Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning

Keep in mind that there will be another opportunity to voice opinions about the new diagnostic criteria this spring – and whose voice matters more than that of a parent? In the meantime, it’s worth your time to get to know the proposed diagnostic criteria and consider how these may (or may not) serve your child’s needs and situation.

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