Disorder Out of Chaos

Published February 19, 2010 in New York Times

The American Psychiatric Association, with its release this week of proposed revisions to its authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is recommending that Aspergers be dropped. If this revision is adopted, the condition will be folded into the category of autism spectrum disorder, which will no longer contain any categories for distinct subtypes of autism like Aspergers and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (a category for children with some traits of autism but not enough to warrant a diagnosis).The change is welcome, because careful study of people with Aspergers has demonstrated that the diagnosis is misleading and invalid, and there are clear benefits to understanding autism as one condition that runs along a spectrum.


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