Asperger syndrome is no longer an official diagnosis


Asperger syndrome, also known as Asperger syndrome or simply Asperger syndrome, is a developmental disorder that affects social skills and interactions and involves repetitive behaviors. It was previously used as a diagnosis at the upper functional end of the autism spectrum.

Once considered a distinct type of autism, Asperger syndrome was eliminated in 2013 with the publication of the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Doctors no longer use it as an official diagnosis.

However, the term is still used in some circumstances and by some doctors, although people who were once thought to have Asperger's syndrome will today be diagnosed with a level 1 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the changes to the DSM-5.

Asperger syndrome

No longer an official diagnosis, Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder in which a person has normal language and cognitive development, but has deficits in social interactions and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

People can have problems with speech and non-verbal communication (eye contact, facial expressions, body posture). They may also have a narrow or intense focus on selected areas of interest and performance in those areas of interest is above average.


Asperger syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who, in 1944, described four children who were highly intelligent but socially awkward and physically awkward. However, he could not come up with a term. The British psychiatrist Lorna Wing in 1981 grouped the symptoms under the diagnosis, calling it Asperger syndrome. It was added to the DSM-IV in 1994.

This term has been removed from DSM-5 along with other types of autism. According to DSM-5, all people with autism are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder .

Asperger gained notoriety in 2001 with an article in Wired magazine titled "Computer Scientist Syndrome," in which he was described as a "gentler cousin" to autism. At the time, people with Asperger's were often considered quirky, creative, anxious, and socially restless.

RAS levels

The change to the DSM registry for Asperger's disease is somewhat controversial, as people who do not have severe autism and who may have previously been diagnosed with Asperger's disease now receive the same diagnosis as non-verbal, mentally retarded and daily serious problems. support for basic life skills.

For clarity and to ease confusion, DSM-5 describes three different levels of ASD, depending on the amount of support a person needs. The new definition of autism describes people as people with a severity level of one to two or three , depending on how much they need it.

The first level is called "requiring support," the second level is called "requiring substantial support," and the third level is named "requiring very substantial support."

Almost anyone who has previously had an Asperger diagnosis is eligible for a Level 1 diagnosis, defined as "needing a relatively low level of support." Newcomers with relatively mild autism symptoms will also be diagnosed with level 1 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for the first time, although this may change over time.

First level

People with level 1 ASD can speak in complete sentences and participate in communication, but may have difficulty speaking back and forth. Also, your attempts to make friends may seem strange and generally unsuccessful.

Social communication is classified as follows for TEA level 1:

  • Without support, deficits in social communication cause marked disturbances.
  • It is difficult for a person to initiate social interactions and exhibits atypical or unsuccessful responses to social cues.
  • They may seem less interested in social interactions.

At the second level, the deficit is evident even with the presence of supports, and at the third level, a severe deficit causes serious disturbances in functioning.

Restricted repetitive behaviors in ASD Level 1 include:

  • Behavioral inflexibility results in significant interference with performance in one or more contexts.
  • It is difficult for a person to switch between activities.
  • Organizational and planning problems make independence difficult.

At the second level, the limited or repetitive behavior appears often enough to be noticeable and interfere with functioning in different contexts. At the third level, the behavior is serious and disruptive in all contexts.

Continued use of the name

Despite being excluded from DSM-5, Asperger's syndrome is still sometimes used in both the United States and other countries. A common reason for this is that the diagnosis of ASD can carry stigma, and people who have previously been diagnosed with Asperger's can still identify and prefer the term.

A 2017 study looking at the effect of removing Asperger's from the DSM found that the change “ could potentially compromise the identity of those affected, '' citing autism as a stigmatizing diagnostic label. Some advocacy groups and organizations continue to use the term as well, at least in part because some people continue to identify as having Asperger's syndrome rather than autism.

Despite this, the medical consensus continues to drift away from the diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. Following DSM guidelines, the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which will take effect on January 1, 2022, has placed Asperger's syndrome under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. The ICD-11 will be used by all member states of the World Health Organization.

Get the word of drug information

If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with a level 1 autism spectrum disorder and / or your doctor has mentioned Asperger's syndrome, there are many therapies and support services, such as social skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy. , which can be helpful.

You can also join a support group such as the Asperger / Autism Network online support groups and discussion forums to connect with others and share experiences and resources.

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