Frequently Asked Questions about Autism Spectrum Diagnosis | Interactive Autism Network


Frequently Asked Questions about Autism Spectrum Diagnosis | Interactive Autism Network.

via Frequently Asked Questions about Autism Spectrum Diagnosis | Interactive Autism Network.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DIAGNOSIS

Catherine Lord, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Autism and the Developing Brain
DeWitt Wallace Senior Scholar
Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Weill Cornell Medical College/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Date Last Revised:
November 10, 2014
Date Published:
April 9, 2007

Dr. Lord served on the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Work Group that developed the new definition of autism spectrum disorder for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which was published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association.

WHAT IS A DIAGNOSIS?

A diagnosis is a categorical term that describes a group of behaviors or characteristics that, in most cases, are linked with a particular disease or disorder through cause, trajectory and effective treatments.

HOW IS A DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD) DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DIAGNOSES?

Because we do not know the causes, ASD diagnoses are based purely on observations or reports of behaviors. Unlike many medical syndromes, ASD is not a disease. It is not contagious and is not yet treatable through medication (though medicine can help some symptoms). It is a developmental disorder that reflects differences in the way that children develop from very early on (from infancy and toddlerhood) and that usually continue to affect development into adulthood. The primary treatments are educational (e.g., teaching individuals with ASD ways to…