chapter  3
20 Pages

Diagnosis

Over the past two decades, diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome has been a topic of continuing professional debate. Although Asperger's Syndrome is universally viewed as a neurologically based pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) associated with deficits in social interactions and narrow or obsessional interests (Meyer & Minshew, 2002; Volkmar & Klin, 2000), experts disagree over its diagnostic validity. Is Asperger's Syndrome a distinct condition, qualitatively different than autistic disorder? Or is it equivalent to high-functioning autism, existing at the mild end of the autistic spectrum (Szatmari, 1992, 1998, 2000)? The meaning and the scope of the concept of diagnosis also generate differing views. For many professionals, diagnosis is simply analogous to classification. However for others, the true value of diagnosis lies within the broader concept of assessment as an "analytic information gathering process directed at understanding the nature of the problem, its possible causes, treatment options and outcomes" (Mash & Terdal, 1997, p. 12).