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From Infantile Autism to Autism Spectrum: Evolution of the Diagnostic Concept 

From Infantile Autism to Autism Spectrum: Evolution of the Diagnostic Concept
Chapter:
From Infantile Autism to Autism Spectrum: Evolution of the Diagnostic Concept
Author(s):

Fred R. Volkmar

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199349722.003.0001
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date: 24 May 2022

This chapter reviews the historical background behind the emergence and evolution of the diagnostic term “autism.” The changes in terminology and diagnostic criteria pertaining to autism over time, from the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-I) through DSM-5, are discussed in detail, and the advantages and disadvantages of different versions of the criteria are addressed. Dimensional and categorical approaches to the diagnosis of autism are compared and contrasted. The bidirectional influences of the DSM and the International Classification of Diseases are described. It remains to be seen how the DSM criteria and the newer Research Diagnostic Criteria, a new classification framework for research on mental disorders, will be conceptualized in the coming years.

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