DSM Update to Remove Asperger's From Autism Spectrum

The ribbon associated with Autism Awareness.

The new DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, will not feature Asperger's syndrome.

Proposed changes to the 2013 edition of the DSM will no longer feature the term Asperger's as part of the revision of the current edition, which features many poorly defined subgroups of autism, targeted by critics as misleading and unhelpful. 

In the 2013 edition, the single label of Autistic Spectrum Disorder will replace the various labels. Its manifestation will be identified by two numerical scales of severity, where individuals will be placed. The DSM committee has invited public comment on the proposed changes until June 15.

While proponents of the change argue that the revised categories will allow a greater number of individuals to enjoy special-education services (many states do not recognize Asperger's as a qualifier for these), critics argue that the revision will erase the advances that Asperger's has made in the popular consciousness. Recent high-profile individuals who have self-identified as Asperger's patients include James Durbin, who was recently voted off American Idol, and Zev Glassenberg of The Amazing Race. 

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry using new diagnostic techniques suggests that the number of individuals with Asperger's in developed nations may be far higher than initially suspected.

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