The American Psychiatric Association will be removing Asperger's syndrome — a form of autism characterized by high intelligence and extremely specialized knowledge, coupled with a lack of social skills — from the newest version of its DSM-5 diagnostic manual. Asperger's syndrome, which has been strongly connected to and oft-dicussed in the programming and technology field, will instead fall under the newly revised autism spectrum disorder. This change was originally proposed in January, and drew heavy criticism for fear that it would limit diagnoses and shut individuals out of necessary care. However, the APA says that field testing led to "more accurate diagnoses" and "more focused treatment."
This move to a more flexible autism spectrum disorder will sit along other structural and diagnostic changes in the manual's first update in nearly 20 years. While it's unlikely to significantly impact the way Asperger's syndrome is discussed in popular culture, the new autism spectrum will hopefully lead to more effective diagnoses and treatment. The DSM-5 will be published in May next year.
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