Special Education

New Definition of Autism Drops Asperger, PDD-NOS Distinctions

By Nirvi Shah — December 05, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Changes proposed to the diagnostic guide used by psychologists, including substantial changes to the definition of autism, are all but final.

Late last week, the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees approved the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, which will be available when the manual is published in the spring.

The change to the definition of autism entails recasting the disability, which currently includes a range of labels including Asperger syndrome, autism, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, into the single autism spectrum disorder.

Although there have been fears that the consolidation could mean that some people now diagnosed with a form of autism may lose their diagnoses and any services and aid their condition may yield, it could have the opposite effect, one autism expert said.

Catherine Lord of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who was on the psychiatric group’s autism task force, told the Associated Press that anyone who met criteria for Asperger’s in the old manual would be included in the new autism diagnosis. She said one reason for the change was that some states and school districts don’t provide services for children and adults with Asperger’s, or provide fewer services than those diagnosed with autism.

Because all the changes made won’t be known until the manual is public, it’s unclear whether another change regarding the definition of mental retardation has been incorporated into the new version.

In a statement, the APA noted that there will be a change to the criteria for specific learning disorders. The condition will be broadened “to represent distinct disorders which interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following academic skills: oral language, reading, written language, or mathematics.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Opinion Inclusive Teachers Must Be 'Asset-Based Believers'
Four veteran educators share tips on supporting students with learning differences as they return to classrooms during this pandemic year.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Special Education Opinion 20 Ways to Support Students With Learning Differences This Year
Embed student voices and perspectives into the classroom is one piece of advice educators offer in this third pandemic-affected school year.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Special Education Schools Must Identify Students With Disabilities Despite Pandemic Hurdles, Ed. Dept. Says
Guidance stresses schools' responsibilities to those with disabilities, while noting that federal COVID aid can be used to address backlogs.
2 min read
School children in classroom with teacher, wearing face masks and raised hands
DigitalVision/Vectors/Getty
Special Education Attention Deficit Rates Skyrocket in High School. Mentoring Could Prevent an Academic Freefall
Twice as many students are diagnosed with ADHD in high school as in elementary school, yet their supports are fewer, a study says.
4 min read
Image of a child writing the letters "ADHD" on a chalkboard.
Getty