Purpose of review: In the lead up to and following the recent publication of the DSM-5, the diagnostic construct of autism has received intense scrutiny.
Recent findings: This article briefly reviews the history of the diagnosis of autism, the changes that have occurred in the diagnosis over time, and the rationale for change. The most significant changes being introduced with the DSM-5 are highlighted, as well as some of the concerns that will be a focus of attention with respect to the potential impacts going forward.
Summary: The categorical divisions that characterized the pervasive developmental disorders are now collapsed into a single entity, autism spectrum disorder. The final DSM-5 criteria have yet to be formally compared prospectively against prior criteria, but early indications suggest that the boundaries around the pervasive developmental disorders have not been substantially altered.