Category Archives: Modern Medicine

Controversies in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The skepdick got to write a paper in Psych class about controversies in autism.  I suppose I could have been harsher on the anti-vax people, but so be it.  Enjoy.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by five separate diagnostic criteria. The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists those criteria as:

  1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction.

  2. Repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

  3. Symptoms must be present in early childhood.

  4. Symptoms must cause clinically significant social impairment.

  5. Symptoms are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay. (DSM-5., 2013, pp. 50-51)

     As a spectrum, symptoms are further categorized into three levels of severity. With level 1 ASD the individual “requires support”, level 2 “requires substantial support”, and level 3 the individual requires “very substantial support” (DSM-5., 2013, p. 52).

     Autism was first described in 1943 by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner, who identified an unusual pattern of symptoms in children, one of which was the child’s desire to be alone, thus naming the condition, autism, after the Greek work for self (Grandin, 2013, p. 5). Some of the criteria Kanner developed is similar to the DSM-5 criteria we use today, but it took quite a few years before we understood even the basics of autism and there were many controversies along the way.

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