Last year, Asperger’s Syndrome was written out of the DSM-5, the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual compiled by the American Psychological Association. In May 2014 it was replaced, alongside PDD/NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified) and Childhood Integrative Disorder, with the term Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a separate diagnosis, Social Communication Disorder. Anyone with a prior diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in the UK would retain their original diagnosis, and thus wouldn’t be affected.
The triad of impairments, social interaction, communication, and theory of mind, have effectively been narrowed down to a ‘duo of impairments’ – social communication and interaction, and repetitive and restrictive patterns of behaviour and/or activities, which includes the sensory difficulties that often accompany a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. There is an emphasis during diagnosis on the specific needs of the individual as a pose to the label, with three ‘levels’ of severity: level 1 – needing support, level 2 – needing substantial support, level 3 – needing very substantial support.
Though the DSM-5 change is influential, Europe and the rest of the world still mainly go by the ICD-10, (the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases) compiled by the World Health Organisation, which still lists Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition to this, the Alpha draft of the ICD-11, which should be out around 2017, still lists Asperger’s Syndrome as unchanged from the ICD-10.