That’s a bit misleading, as if I am indicating that there’s been some cure found for Asperger’s Syndrome. But now that I have your attention, the real story is that Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer going to be included in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the most recent revision that comes out in May, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM is the bible of mental disorders. And according to the APA, Asperger’s Syndrome will now be listed under Autism Spectrum Disorder and not have its own entry.
Asperger’s disorder, generally stated, is the impairment in social interaction coupled with repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, activities and interests. Often those with Asperger’s have high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lack social skills.
What’s the big deal, you might be asking? It’s not like Asperger’s will cease to exist, right?
Well, opponents to the change worry about the implications, which could be far reaching. DSM is widely used by practitioners, but also by insurance companies “to determine what conditions are considered abnormal, which treatments should be covered by insurance companies, and which warrant special educational services,” according to a recent article by TIME magazine.
Consequently, changes to the content of the DSM have major social implications and autism advocates oppose the change because they are concerned that families “affected by Asperger’s will lose critical educational and other services. The revision will diminish clarity of diagnoses, both for research purposes and personal understanding.”