ASD Diagram

I designed the (hopefully) simple graphic below to help people understand the family of Autism Spectrum Disorders — as outlined in the DSM-IV — and how they relate to one another (click on the image to see a larger version). I did not include Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, as they usually receive their own diagnoses apart from an ASD.

As you can see, much of the confusion comes from the duplicative use of terms like PDD and ASD at both the category and sub-category levels.

It’s important to note that the just-approved DSM-V subsumes both PDD-NOS and Aspergers into one category called, quite simply, Autism. In addition, a new category called Social Communication Disorder has been created to hopefully account for children who don’t meet the new ASD criteria but still have deficits in the key areas of communication and social skills.


Let me know what you think on Twitter: @1asddad


  1. So in the new, just-approved DSM-V, there would only be two: autism and social communication disorder? Or would those two fall under the category ASD? I was trying to read about it on another site, but it found it kind of confusing. This graphic, or something like it, would help alot.

    • The Social Communication Disorder would not fall under Autism; it would be a separate diagnosis. This, obviously, is causing concern and some confusion because (as you may know), the two primary deficits of autism are in the areas of social skills and communication. My understanding is that SCD would be applied to those children who do not add up to an Autism diagnosis, but still have sufficient social and communication delays to be classified as a developmental delay. Only time will tell.