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Asperger syndrome (a specific autism spectrum disorder): Management and prognosis in children and adolescents

L Erik von Hahn, MD
Section Editors
Carolyn Bridgemohan, MD
Marc C Patterson, MD, FRACP
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD


The American Psychiatric Association recognized Asperger disorder (also called Asperger syndrome) as a specific entity by publishing diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) in 1994 [1]. A modest literature on Asperger syndrome has emerged since then, though there are no clearly defined clinical criteria to separate Asperger syndrome from the autism spectrum as a whole [2-4]. (See "Asperger syndrome (a specific autism spectrum disorder): Clinical features and diagnosis in children and adolescents", section on 'Terminology'.)

The management and prognosis of Asperger syndrome will be reviewed here. The clinical features and diagnosis are discussed separately. (See "Asperger syndrome (a specific autism spectrum disorder): Clinical features and diagnosis in children and adolescents".)

An overview of the management and prognosis of autism spectrum disorder is also provided separately. (See "Autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents: Overview of management".)


In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published in 2013, Asperger syndrome is encompassed within the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) [5]. However, Asperger syndrome remains a distinct entity in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) [6].

In this topic review, we will use the term “Asperger syndrome/autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” to describe children who have clinical features compatible with an ICD-10 diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (table 1). In the United States, the DSM-5 terminology is “autism spectrum disorder” with particular specifiers for severity and associated conditions (eg, “without significant language or intellectual impairment”). The autism subgroup addressed in this topic review is included in the DSM-5 as “autism spectrum disorder of Level 1 severity without intellectual impairment”. (See "Autism spectrum disorder: Diagnosis", section on 'Diagnostic criteria'.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 29, 2016.
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