The 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, which is due for publication in 2019, is likely to eliminate childhood autism as a formal diagnosis by dissolving it and other subtypes of autism into one diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder.
According to the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems - 10th Edition, 'childhood autism' is
'A type of pervasive developmental disorder that is defined by: (a) the presence of abnormal or impaired development that is manifest before the age of three years, and (b) the characteristic type of abnormal functioning in all the three areas of psychopathology: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and restricted, stereotyped, repetitive behaviour. In addition to these specific diagnostic features, a range of other nonspecific problems are common, such as phobias, sleeping and eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and (self-directed) aggression.'
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published in 2013 eliminates autistic disorder as a formal diagnosis by dissolving it and other subtypes of autism into one diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder . According to the American Psychiatric Association, this represents an effort to more accurately diagnose all individuals showing the signs of autism.
According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders people with autistic disorder show the following symptoms
A. A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):
(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
a. marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures,
and gestures to regulate social interaction
b. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
c. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
d. lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(2) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
a. delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)
b. in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
c. stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
d. lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
(3) restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
a. encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
b. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
c. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
d. persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.
C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Each individual will experience these symptoms to a different extent. For example, a child may have little trouble learning to speak but exhibit extremely poor social interaction. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of autism.