How was Asperger's syndrome diagnosed in you, a friend, or relative?
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How is Asperger's syndrome diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based upon interviews and observation of the individual along
with interviews of his/her family members and sometimes teachers or counselors.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th. Edition, known
as the DSM-IV, is published by the American Psychiatric Association and includes
the diagnostic criteria for all recognized psychiatric conditions.
The DSM-IV has specific diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome (see
below). However, revision of the DSM-IV is currently underway, with a 5th
edition (DSM-V) planned for publication in 2013. According to draft guidelines
that are under consideration, Asperger's syndrome would be included in the same
diagnostic group as people with autism and pervasive developmental disorders.
Until new guidelines are formally adopted, the diagnostic guidelines from the
4th edition are still accepted.
According to the DSM-IV, the six diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome
are as follows. The individual must exhibit:
Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least
two of the following:
Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as
eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate
Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.
A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest, or achievements
with other people (for example, by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out
objects of interest to other people).
Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.
Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and
activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted
patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus.
Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines, or
Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (for example, hand or finger flapping
or twisting, or complex whole-body movements).
Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.
The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
There is no clinically significant general delay in language (for example, single
words used by age two years, communicative phrases used by age three years).
There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in
the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other
than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
Criteria are not met for another specific pervasive developmental disorder