Criteria for Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-TR) criteria for diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes the following:

Criteria 1: Deficits in social communication and social interaction, as manifested by all of the following:

  1. Difficulties in social-emotional reciprocity.
  2. Trouble interpreting nonverbal cues. For example, may avoid eye contact, misinterpret facial expressions, body posture or gestures.
  3. Challenges in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.

Criteria 2: Repetitive behavior, interest or activities shown by at least two of the following:

  1. Repetitive motor movements.
  2. Need for routines. For instance, may have difficulty transitioning between activities or adjusting to changes in the daily routine.
  3. Fixed interests that are unusual in intensity or focus.
  4. Sensitivity to sensory input. For example, may have challenges with bright lights, loud sounds or certain textures or smells.

Criteria 3: Symptoms must be present in the early developmental years.

Criteria 4: Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

Criteria 5: The symptoms are not better explained by other conditions, such as intellectual developmental disorder. Intellectual developmental disorder and autism spectrum disorder frequently may co-occur, however.

Severity level, is based on the social communication impairments, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors (See level descriptions in the overview section).

Specifiers include:
With or without intellectual impairment
With or without accompanying language impairment