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Asperger’s to be Dropped from Psychiatric Manual

Somebody better tell Max Braverman of Parenthood that he no longer has Asperger’s. Well, at least he won’t when the American Psychiatric Association drops that term next year. Instead, he’ll be just another kid on the spectrum, the Associated Press reports.

The term “Asperger’s disorder” will be dropped and incorporated under the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder,” which will actually be making its appearance for the first time in the association’s manual, commonly referred to as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Plus: Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders

The last time the mental-health docs’ manual was revised was almost 20 years ago, back when autism was just beginning to be recognized. Changes are significant because the manual is what doctors use to diagnose patients and what insurance companies and government agencies use to determine coverage.

But parents of Asperger’s kids, have no fear. The new diagnosis won’t affect developmental and educational services available. And the new autism category will allow children to be diagnosed based on the severity of their condition. 

Plus: My Son Had Autism; Then He Didn’t

Other changes to note in the American Psychiatric Association Manual:

  • Dyslexia will remain but will become part of a larger “learning disorders” category.
  • Severe temper tantrums (we’re talking those way beyond the terrible 2s) will get a name: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Supporters of the change hope the new category will cut down on kids being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
  • “Gender identity disorder” will now be known as “gender dysphoria,” eliminating the possibly stigmatizing term “disorder.”