Implications of New Autism Diagnosis in DSM-5.

Most children with an existing diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) will still qualify for an autism diagnosis under the proposed fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — contrary to earlier concerns that many children would be excluded and therefore lose access to social services — according to an American Journal of Psychiatry study.

Researchers analyzed parental behavior reports for three groups of children, comprising nearly 4500 with PDD diagnoses and 700 with non-PDD diagnoses under DSM-IV. The DSM-5 criteria correctly identified 91% of children with PDD. When using parental report or clinical observation, the sensitivity increased to roughly 99%.

The authors write: “These results … provide evidence that the proposed criteria would likely be able to correctly classify a phenotypically wide range of children” with autism.

DSM-5 is expected to take effect in May 2013, the New York Times reports.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry