The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice
The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice

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The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice

2.5 Section summary

  • Diagnosis is a complex process that plays an important role in identifying individual therapeutic and educational needs, and in placing theoretical research on a sound footing.

  • The diagnostic approach involves the description of autism in terms of symptoms, and is primarily focused at the level of observable behaviour.

  • The characteristics of ASDs are summarised within formal systems of diagnostic criteria, such as the DSM-IV-TR™ and the ICD-10.

  • For a diagnosis of classic autism, a person must show a specified number and pattern of difficulties in each of the triad areas, and certain key difficulties must have appeared before 36 months.

  • Many people with autism have additional cognitive difficulties, while some have special skills, and a few have outstanding talents.

  • The diagnostic approach has theoretical and practical benefits, but also reflects ethical issues that are difficult to resolve.


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