Another category pertinent to these changes, which is also new to DSM-5, is social communication disorder (also known as pragmatic language disorder). This is conceptualized as impairment of pragmatics and difficulty in use of verbal and non-verbal cues of communication, affecting the ability of development of social relationships. However, this disorder is considered an ASD.
Though the changes have been positive in an effort to make the diagnosis more valid and reliable, concerns have been raised regarding how this will affect those who are on the spectrum. Specifically, individuals who are higher functioning and those with a diagnosis of AS and PDD-NOS may not meet criteria for ASD and hence may not be able to access the services they need.
It also leads to a loss of identity and uniqueness of individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how state educational services and insurance companies may look at these criteria when it comes to providing services.
Sachin Relia, MD, is a psychiatrist with Community Psychiatry in Pleasanton, California.
- Asperger H. Die “Autistischen Psychopathen” im Kindesalter [Autistic psychopathy in childhood]. Archiv für psychiatrie und nervenkrankheiten. 1944; 117:76–136.
- Volkmar FR. History of Asperger’s Disorder. Psych Central. 2007. Retrieved on December 5, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/history-of-aspergers-disorder/000879.
- Wing L. Aspergers Syndrome: A clinical account. Psychol Med. 1981; 11 (1): 115–29.
- Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010. Surveillance Summaries. 2014; 63(SS02);1-21.
- Ehlers S, Gillberg C. The epidemiology of Asperger syndrome. A total population study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1993; 34(8):1327-50.
- Lavelle TA, et al. Economic burden of childhood autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2014;133(3):e520-9.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics. 2007; 120(5):1183-1215.