The Absorption of Asperger’s Into The Autism Spectrum: Is The Spectrum Too Wide?

In the DSM-4 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there were four autism-related categories. The panel who wrote the DSM-5, released in 2013, felt that the diagnoses weren’t consistent based on the previous framework in DSM-4. So to help establish clearer boundaries for diagnosis, they shuffled everything under the autism spectrum. This means that Asperger’s is no long classified as a disorder all its own; meaning that technically, the Asperger’s diagnosis no longer exists.

There has been some controversy over this change. It affects diagnosis and insurance coverage; some believe this is helpful, while others believe it’s detrimental.

The label change can also affect your idea where you “fit in” on the spectrum — something that is important to Andy, a man diagnosed with Asperger’s, who gives his two cents in the following video. You’ll also hear from Karen. She, too, was diagnosed with Asperger’s, and she commends the absorption of Asperger’s into the autism spectrum because her experiences with sensory overload align more with the autism spectrum. She also views the distinction between Asperger’s and autism as “elitist”.

In addition to the above commentary, you’ll hear from Dania Jekel, executive director of the Asperger’s Association of New England, and Susan Senator, an activist and author who has an adult son on the spectrum with a more severe form of the disorder.

Watch this video to learn more.

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