Autism, refers to a range of conditions dealing with challenges relating to social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication, along with unique strengths and differences. There are various types of autism caused as a result of several combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
Autism is usually diagnosed by clinicians as per the criteria proposed in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5) or the “International Classification of Diseases” (ICD). These manuals put to use a checklist of features, such as problems with social skills so as to define autism. Recently, a new catalog has come up that shall help the doctors to better understand and examine the challenges that people with autism have to go through, and the kind of environment that they have to live in. The new catalog is an outcome of an international effort that first began in the year 2012. The catalog contains over 100 'core sets,' or categories, of behaviours, abilities and environmental factors such as sleeping habits, hygiene practices, family support and access to education or employment. This new catalog complements the DSM-5 or ICD and does not replace them. A growing list of descriptions of conditions such as cerebral palsy and depression is added to the “International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health” (ICF). The new catalog provides the clinicians a common vocabulary to explain how people with autism fare in their lives. The common vocabulary has proved helpful to a large extent for research on people’s living conditions like availability of support from family members and others.
By: Anuja Arora