What is the DSM-5 definition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Diagnostic criteria

The definition of ASD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) encompasses the previous manual's autistic disorder (autism), Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. ASD is characterized by the following: [5]

  • Deficits in social communication and social interaction

  • Restricted repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities (RRBs)

These symptoms are present from early childhood and limit or impair everyday functioning. Both components are required for diagnosis of ASD.

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