The question was asked by a friend who had read the latest stories on the DSM-V and the criteria changes for autism spectrum disorders. See this New York Times article:
I've written a great deal about defining autism so you might assume I care a great deal, personally. But, as I have written several times, "autistic" to me is a description of some traits but not the entire me.
My doctoral thesis included a long section on definitions of autism and the challenges of labels. My Ph.D does include the word "rhetoric" and a part of me does ponder the nature of labels. But, caring intellectually is not the same as passionately identifying with a label.
- 1980: DSM-III adds "autism"
- 1989: First criteria for Asperger's published
- 1991: IDEA adds autism category to K-12 special education codes
- 1994: DSM-IV error expands autism ("and" becomes "or" in criteria)
- 2000: DSM-IV-TR corrects 1994 edition
- 2004: IDEA revised, slows increase in cases
- 2012: DSM-V to be finalized, December 2012 (narrower criteria, in theory)