A preliminary analysis of a revision in the definition of autism could change the proportion of individuals who qualify for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
Proposed changes to the definition could be published in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as early as December. The changes would redefine and consolidate the autism spectrum, which now includes people with Asperger syndrome and those with pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS, under the single label of autism spectrum disorder.
Dr. Fred Volkmar, the director of the Yale Child Study Center, and his team found that in a group of nearly 1,000 individuals diagnosed with one of those three conditions, approximately half might not qualify for a diagnosis of autism under the proposed definition—a finding that also has implications for school special education services.
Complete results of the study will be published in the April print edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
A version of this article appeared in the February 01, 2012 edition of Education Week as Autism