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Disorders Listed Under Pervasive Developmental Disorder in DSM-IV-TR

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The criteria for Asperger's disorder are identical to those for autistic disorder (including the requirement that the symptoms be severe and pervasive) with the exception that there is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, and no significant delay in language development. The former is often interpreted as having an IQ score above 70, and the latter is specified as having single word use by 2 years of age and communicative phrases by 3 years of age. There has been considerable controversy whether Asperger's disorder is justified as a separate diagnosis or whether it simply represents high-functioning autism (Macintosh and Dissanayake 2004). Also, of persons who meet the criteria for Asperger's at the time they are evaluated, often at age 5 years or later, few have a history of normal cognitive function and language early in life, as is required in DSM-IV (Mayes et al. 2001). Since Asperger's does exist as an official diagnosis, we suggest that the criteria of normal language and normal intelligence be judged at the time of evaluation rather than based on information about the child's first years of life.

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