Until May 22, with the official release of the DSM-5, Asperger's was considered related to but distinct from autism. DSM-5 contains a new disorder that replaces both the old autistic disorder and Asperger's:
It is called autism spectrum disorder.
The new autism spectrum disorder criteria include impaired social communication or social reciprocity, which could mean difficulty making eye contact, a lack of facial expression or no interest in one's peers.
Peculiar behaviors or interests — technically described as "restricted, repetitive" in the DSM-5 — make up the second criterion. These could include hand flapping, insistence on a strict or a fixation on a specific subject, such as trains.
This change made to diagnoses of autism and Asperger's has been among the highest profile and most controversial in the new DSM-5.
Somebody tell all of the "Aspies" out there... they are no longer "Aspies." It just shows us how much the so called 'experts' do NOT know. I smell a money problem... for instance, look at this statement from a study, published in April 2012, using a preliminary version of the new DSM-5 autism spectrum criteria. They reported finding about 75 percent of patients who had been diagnosed with Asperger's under the old criteria would no longer qualify for a diagnosis, raising the possibility that they could lose access to services, such as special education in schools.
The "ewho revised the DSM-5 have disagreed with the study's findings, saying the revision will not substantially alter the prevalence of autism, which has been increasing. Unlike most people diagnosed with autism under the old DSM criteria, those diagnosed with Asperger's could generally function independently, because they could communicate adequately. Even so, aspects of their social skills might be impaired.
For instance, while many people are not gifted conversationalists, someone with Asperger's may continue talking about a favorite subject for some time, remaining oblivious to his listener's loss of interest by missing cues of disinterest that someone without the disorder would catch, said Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook "Abnormal Psychology"(Worth Publishers, 2009).
Meanwhile, the old autism diagnosis could entail more severe problems, such as a lack of speech or abnormal use of language.
The new autism spectrum disorder also encompasses a condition in the old DSM called pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). This catchall category applied to people whose impairments didn't quite meet with the criteria for autism or Asperger's.