Dr Gerri Dawson, Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks has written an easy to read summary of a talk given by Dr Sue Swedo, chair of the committee recommending changes to autism criteria for DSM 5, at the 2012 International Meeting on Autism Research in Toronto.
According to this report, Dr Swedo has again confirmed that the American Psychiatry Association is NOT attempting to reduce the number of people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Rather they are trying to ensure all individuals are accurately diagnosed by strengthening the criteria and removing clincian's bias. By collapsing all subtypes into the one autism spectrum disorder it will improve the consistency of diagnoses. Currently this is an issue as what one doctor calls high functioning autism will be classifed as Asperger syndrome by another, depending on the recall of whether the person had a language delay or not.
Asperger syndrome will not disappear, rather it will become a specifier or type within the autism spectrum diagnosis. Scientific research into Asperger syndrome will continue. And the addition of sensory sensitivites into the DSM 5 criteria is also to be welcomed.
I do encourage you to read the full article here