May 14, 2021: When Tesla’s founding billionaire Elon Musk revealed that he had Asperger’s syndrome about his recent Saturday night live organizing concerts, many applauded their transparency and ability to talk about a condition that is often stigmatized.
Others, while appreciating honesty, point to Asperger’s obsolete terminology. It is no longer seen as a diagnosis a Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, the “bible” used by mental health professionals to diagnose conditions. Instead, he falls under the umbrella of autistic spectrum disorder (TEA). He DSM was last updated in 2013.
TEA it is now defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech, and nonverbal communication, and restricted / repetitive behaviors.” The association emphasizes that there is a wide range of capabilities and characteristics in those who have them.
According to Matthew Siegel, MD, vice president of medical affairs for Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s developmental disorder services line in Portland, which specializes in treating autism spectrum disorders, says Matthew Siegel, MD, vice president of medical affairs from Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s line of developmental disorder services in Portland. The main reason the change was made was because doctors could not make reliable diagnoses of Asperger’s and others. autism-as conditions based on symptoms and patient presentation, which vary widely, says Siegel. Researchers could not reliably duplicate these different categories of autism in his studies, either, he says.
“So the decision was made to treat it as a spectrum disorder and try to encompass the significant differences between people who have autism,” Siegel says. The name change recognizes this difference in severity among people with ASD, says Siegel, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. “We are assessing the severity of the symptoms rather than trying to analyze them in different diagnoses.” Now, doctors diagnose ASD as level 1, 2, or 3, Siegel says, with level 1 diagnosis for patients with high functioning and less severe problems. “The treatment has to match the severity,” he says.
The new term is less derogatory, says Victor M. Fornari, MD, vice president of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York. “The ‘autistic person’ sounds pejorative, rather than ASD, which reflects a broader spectrum. ASD reflects a more cohesive understanding of the disorder that occurs along a continuum.”
Siegel says it may be the term used when he was first diagnosed.
“I think what’s exciting is that if Elon Musk reports that he has autism, either with an outdated term or not, it’s that the public sees a person lift the stigma about diagnoses like autism, by any name called.” , he says. “And people can see that people with autism, some of them, can be quite successful and part of our society.”