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DSM 'can identify autism spectrum disorders'

DSM 'can identify autism spectrum disorders'
5th October 2011

Diagnostic and statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can be used to identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD), new research confirms.

The 16 year study at the Kennedy Krieger Institute has proven that despite many claiming that the DSM cannot be used with children with Down's syndrome because of cognitive impairments, it in fact can accurately identify ASD.

"The behavioural diagnosis of autism will probably always be more complicated than a simple blood test," stated Dr Walter E Kaufmann, senior author of the study, which was published by Kennedy Krieger Institute in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

"However, with this study, we're able to [...] support the accurate diagnosis of autism in children with Down syndrome."

Figures suggest that ASD can occur in approximately seven per cent of children with Down's syndrome.

Children with ASD struggle with social understanding, empathy, communication, imagination and play. They often also show sensory sensitivity.

Diagnosing children with Down's syndrome with ASD can often be difficult as they naturally have problems with language and cognitive development, and often go through phases of sensory sensitivity. 

It is hoped that the new discovery will aid healthcare professionals and families in identifying ASD in children with Down's syndrome, in addition to facilitating proper treatment and care for patients with ASD.

Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions