Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin

Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin

Improving the Lives of All Affected by Autism

Autism is a journey. You are not alone.

Asperger Syndrome / PDD-NOS

Asperger Syndrome

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version 5 (DSM-5) has changed the way practitioners diagnose. Asperger Syndrome and PDD-nos are no longer separate diagnosis. Going forward, everyone who meets criteria for autism will be given one of 3 severity levels. If you already have a diagnosis of PDD-nos or Asperger Syndrome, there is no need to change your diagnosis to anything else. This change affects only people receiving the diagnosis after May of 2013. We are leaving this page on our website because so many people already have this diagnosis, and the terms are still in use.

Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism in which the individual has or had no language delay and an IQ in the average to high range, but has social and communication challenges. It was named for the Austrian pediatrician, Hans Asperger, who first described in 1944 a pattern of behavior and abilities that he called “autistic psychopathy”, meaning autism (self) and psychopathy (personality disease). The pattern included “a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversation, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements.”

Dr. Asperger called children with AS “little professors” because of their ability to talk about their favorite subject in great detail. Common symptoms of Asperger Syndrome include social problems, vulnerability to sensory overload, clumsiness, and a tendency to take many figures of speech literally.

Many adults who were very bright children but never quite “fit in” socially, realize later in life that they may have Asperger Syndrome. We have a monthly support group meeting for adults in Southeastern Wisconsin who have AS or High-Functioning Autism. We have many books and DVDs in our Lending Library for adults with AS and for parents. Another resource you may find helpful is the website OASIS – Online Asperger Information and Support. An organization run by and for people with Autism is the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).

PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay-Not Otherwise Specified) is a diagnosis also on the autism spectrum. Typically, a child who displays some of the characteristics of autism or Asperger Syndrome but doesn’t quite “fit” the criteria are diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Sometimes very young children who are identified with having PDD-NOS are diagnosed with autism or AS when they get older.

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Remember, this is a journey and we are here to support you.