Criteria for ASD’s

Autism Medical Diagnosis

autism-diagnosis-iconThe autism medical diagnosis has not changed since 1994, but the public perception has. Below is the diagnostic criteria for Autistic Disorder (also known as classic Autism, ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder), as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). The American Psychiatric Association last published this manual in 1994 and it’s the authoritative diagnostic reference of mental health professionals in the United States.

299.00 Autistic Disorder


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:

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
Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
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)
Lack of social or emotional reciprocity

2. Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

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 gestures or mime)
In individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
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:

Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects


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


The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.