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Autism facts - diagnosis versus educational label

Did you know that autism can be a medical diagnosis and/or an educational label?

In the community, individuals are often diagnosed with autism based on the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV).  The criteria falls under three major areas of deficit:
1) Social Interaction
2) Communication
3) Behavior (specifically, "restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities")

In North Carolina Public Schools, students are determined eligible for special education services in the category of autism based on impairment in at least three out of four major categories:
1) Communication
2) Social Interaction
3) Sensory Responses/Experiences
4) Behavior (specifically, "restricted, repetitive, or stereotypic patterns of behavior, interests, and/or activities")

If you are interested in more information about characteristics of autism, see the Autism Society of North Carolina website or visit this link to view the specific DSM-IV criteria.

If you want to learn more about the proposed changes in the diagnostic criteria for autism in the newest version of the DSM - the DSM-5 - which is scheduled for release in 2013, click here.

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