DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition)

autism partnership singapore

What are the changes from DSM -IV?

– Diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) will be given instead of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified)

– There were 3 main pillars of impairments has been reduced to 2

  • social communication and interaction
  • restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities

– Sensory behaviours are included in the criteria

– Symptoms must be present from early childhood


What will happen to someone who currently has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome?

If you currently have a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or Asperger disorder, this will not change. You will continue to receive the same services and same access accommodations.

In future, under DSM-5, people would get a diagnosis of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ rather than any of the current DSM diagnostic terms, which include ‘autistic disorder’, ‘Asperger disorder’ and ‘PDD-NOS’. However, most diagnoses in the UK are based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organisation, or other criteria, such as those developed by Professor Christopher Gillberg.


Will this change in DSM affects the prevalence of Autism?

Below are some studies:

  1. Studies shown 91% of those previously diagnosed as PDD(NOS) is now Autism
  2. A study, published in April 2012 using a preliminary version of the new DSM-5 autism spectrum criteria found about 75 percent of patients who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s under the old criteria would no longer qualify for a diagnosis, raising the possibility that they could lose access to services, such as special education in schools.
  3. Some studies seem to show no significant difference in the diagnosis levels with the new criteria.

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