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

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