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Diagnosis and autism

For years autism was seen as primarily a male disorder. But some researchers are asking whether girls with ASD are going undiagnosed, especially those at the high-functioning end of the spectrum? Do girls simply do a better job masking their symptoms? Are their symptoms being missed by diagnostic tools that may be better suited to boys? As researcher John N. Constantino M.D. put it, are doctors looking at girls through "boy-colored glasses"?

The psychiatric manual known as the DSM-5 is being revised, and the definition of autism is being revised with it. Read about the changes being made, how they improve current definitions, and the hopes and concerns being expressed by families and advocates as the await the new DSM's publication. In addition, learn how research made possible by thousands of families taking part in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) and IAN projects has helped to inform the process and improve the final result.

A child’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often comes after months or years of worry and a long and painful search for answers. Receiving that final, official word can be very hard, even if parenta expected the diagnosis, or fought fiercely for the evaluation that led to it. As they begin to regroup, learning how to navigate education, medical, and insurance systems, they may also wonder: When will we tell our child about this diagnosis? When will we tell his brothers and sisters? How will we tell them?