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Autism Numbers May Drop

New criteria may reduce number of diagnoses.

How prevalent is autism spectrum disorder? The Centers for Disease Control says estimates of the number of cases of the disorder, now at 1 in 88 children, may drop.

The diagnostic criteria used to identify autism spectrum disorder were revised last year by the American Psychiatric Association.

A recent study by Matthew J. Maenner, Ph.D., of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC, found that 81-percent of kids previously diagnosed with ASD met the new critera.

The new criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition" (DSM-5)  don't distinguish subtypes of ASD such as autistic and Asperger disorders. They recognize only two areas of impairment: social communication and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior interests or activities.  All three items in the social communication domain are required.

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