How is Aspergers Assessed?

Question

How is Aspergers Assessed?

Answer

Aspergers is a diagnosis based on the behavioral criteria set forth in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM). Because it is difficult to provide a diagnosis based on brief personal contacts, mental health professionals often rely on the reports of parents and teachers.

1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

• a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
• failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
• lack of social or emotional reciprocity
• marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

2. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

• apparently inflexible adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals
• encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal in either intensity or focus
• persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
• stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting or complex whole-body movement)

3. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

4. There is no clinically significant delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years).

5. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

6. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.

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