DSM-V's diagnosis of Asperger's and Autism

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DSM-V's diagnosis of Asperger's and Autism

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The newest addition of the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in Psychiatry ver. 5 was released in May of 2013. This is the manual that we use to diagnose many disorders such autism and asperger's. This new definition included in this latest version has changed how we look at the definitions of autism and asperger's. Asperger's has been formally removed as a separate diagnosis, and now asperger's is included as part of the autism spectrum. Whereas before, we looked at children with autism differently than children with asperger's, now, according to the new guidelines, we assign everybody with a number from 0-100. This doesn't apply to just children that are being evaluated. Anyone - you can get a number, I can get a number, everyone can get a number from 0-100, but at some point there will be a cut-off, and above that cut-off is the definition of autism. The higher the number, the more severe the diagnosis. The lower the number, the less severe the diagnosis or the more social skills or language the person is felt to have, based on this criteria. So, in the former way of looking at these diagnoses, the definition of asperger's was that there was no language delay prior to 3 years of age, but there was difficulty with the pragmatic or the social use of language. So children with asperger's are felt to have on time language development, but have trouble with pragmatic language, understanding humor, understanding idiomatic language or focusing on one specific area of interest. Children with autism were felt to have more severe deficits in multiple areas. And children with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified were felt to have deficits in multiple areas, but not enough to meet the formal criteria for autism. Now we've simplified things and everyone simply has a number so that they can track their progress with time and with therapies.

Watch Jane Tavyev Asher, MD's video on DSM-V's diagnosis of Asperger's and Autism...

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Jane Tavyev Asher, MD

Division of Child Neurology - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher is a board certified Child Neurologist and Director of the Division of Child Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Upon attaining her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she completed residency/ fellowship training in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, where her clinical training focused on behavioral neurology, specializing in autism and other developmental disorders, and her research focused on epigenetic factors in autism.  She currently maintains a clinical practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she sees patients with a variety of neurologic conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disabilities, tics, headaches, and cognitive/ behavioral management in neuromuscular disorders.  She holds an academic/ research appointment as Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest remains in the area of autism.  Dr. Tavyev Asher is proud to contribute to the training of the next generation of physicians including those specializing in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Child and Adult Neurology, and she enjoys giving talks on various neurologic topics locally and nationally.  She is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment), and The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of Healthy Child Healthy Child Healthy World.  She enjoys art, music, yoga, skiing, and relaxing with her family.

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