An evaluation of the clinical application of the DSM-5 for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

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The changes to the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) were met with much controversy by researchers, clinicians, and families of individuals with ASD. The goal of this paper is to review the literature on the impact of these changes. Areas covered: This paper reviews the major changes to diagnostic criteria from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. It emphasizes how these changes are hypothesized to impact prevalence rates, as well as trends in characteristics of individuals who would have met previous criteria for ASD but no longer qualify for a diagnosis under DSM-5. Policy issues such as access to services and research considerations are also briefly reviewed. Expert commentary: Researchers have found that the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD may significantly impact which children receive diagnoses, which in turn affects access to services that address impairments characteristic of this disorder. Despite the fact that the DSM-5 has now been in use for four years, fewer recent studies were identified than was expected. Future research should continue to focus on the impact of changes in criteria, as well as on translational scientific advances across disciplines.

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Expert review of neurotherapeutics

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