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Areas of Difference – Trajectories
Course Blog for Developmental Psychopathology (PSY330; Spring 2020)

Areas of Difference

Most recently, our class discussed differences between the DSM 4 and DSM 5 in regards to how Pervasive Developmental Disorders are categorized and labeled. Under Pervasive Developmental Disorders in the DSM 4 is Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified). In the DSM 5, all of these disorders are grouped under the one label of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

People with autism tend to struggle with social interaction, communication, and other behaviors. In regard to social interaction, people with autism often do not respond to others or pay attention to the social cues of people around them. They may struggle with making eye contact and/or reading other people’s gestures. At 6 months, children without autism have strong nonverbal communication. The example that struck me the most from class involved two children playing with bubbles. The child without autism says “Pop” to ask for more bubbles and communicates verbally with his mother and the therapist. The child who may have autism interacts with the bubbles but not the people in the room.

There is reciprocity in relationships that is very important. We read social information a lot and it dictates our behavior. We do it naturally and it is hard to turn off, but children with autism struggle with reciprocity. A child without autism reacts to people around them, which helps them form bonds. A child with autism may not respond to adults at all. They may be more interested in the objects around them than the people around them. They often do not reciprocate interactions.

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