The DSM-5’s take on autism: Five years on

How autism’s definition has changed over time

Don’t judge this book by its decidedly dull cover: Across its pages, some of the most dramatic changes in the history of autism have played out. This short animation chronicles how a diagnostic manual has defined and redefined autism over the years.

By Emma Bryce, Mengxin Li
9 May 2018 | 3 min watch

In DSM-5, guidance on girls with autism is short but savvy

The DSM-5 acknowledges how gender shapes autism more than any previous diagnostic manual has, but it’s time to fold in a few new findings.

By William Mandy
9 May 2018 | 6 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Narrowing of ‘autism’ in DSM-5 runs counter to idea of broad spectrum

The strict definition of autism in the latest version of the diagnostic manual is antithetical to the idea that autism comes in a wide variety of forms.

By Brian Reichow, Fred Volkmar
9 May 2018 | 5 min read
People standing with shapes around them

The evolution of ‘autism’ as a diagnosis, explained

From a form of childhood schizophrenia to a spectrum of conditions, the characterization of autism in diagnostic manuals has a complicated history.

By Lina Zeldovich
9 May 2018 | 7 min read
Book with graph overlaid

U.S. institute maintains support for diagnoses based on biology

A 2013 initiative to find biological roots for mental health diagnoses still has broad appeal, but has not produced a dramatic shift in autism research.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
9 May 2018 | 5 min read

The DSM-5 has not improved services for autistic adults

Since the DSM-5’s debut, schoolchildren have gained stronger legal rights and better opportunities for accessing services; for adults, it’s a different story.

By Julia Bascom
9 May 2018 | 5 min read

Intellectual disability’s introduction in the DSM-5: What’s the impact?

The move to replace ‘mental retardation’ with ‘intellectual disability’ is widely accepted, but little data exist on the impact of this change.

By Walter Kaufmann
9 May 2018 | 5 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Few people mourn Asperger syndrome’s loss from diagnostic manuals

Our concept of autism has evolved over the past 20 years, rendering redundant the diagnostic labels of Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.

By David Skuse
9 May 2018 | 4 min read

Why the definition of autism needs to be refined

Five years after its latest revision, the manual used to diagnose autism is back under scrutiny, as evidence suggests it excludes some people on the spectrum.

By Lina Zeldovich
9 May 2018 | 14 min read
mother and daughter sitting across a doctor

Levels of autism severity in diagnostic manual track with intelligence

A rating of high severity of autism from the DSM-5, the latest version of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” tracks with low intelligence scores.

By Amber Dance
26 March 2018 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read

Widely used calcium imaging protocol can lead to spurious results, new paper cautions

The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch
Research image of white-matter density in brains of people with deletions or duplications in the 16p11.2 chromosomal region.

Double-empathy problem; dup15q syndrome; myelin loss in aging autistic adults

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 17 June.

By Jill Adams
18 June 2024 | 2 min read