Chapter

Diagnosis and Assessment in Autism

Part of the series Current Issues in Autism pp 111-122

Multiaxial Diagnostic Approaches

  • Dennis P. CantwellAffiliated withNeuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles
  • , Lorian BakerAffiliated withNeuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles

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Abstract

This chapter deals with diagnostic approaches in child psychiatry. The chapter begins with a discussion of why diagnostic classification is desirable and a summary of the basic principles of such classification. The goals and requirements of a classification system are outlined, and four types of classification systems (categorical, dimensional, uniaxial, and multiaxial) are explained. The type of multiaxial classification system used in DSM-III is explained, and two case histories of autistic children are provided to illustrate how such an approach is superior to a uniaxial system. Finally, some of the unresolved issues having to do with the DSM-III classification system are presented, and the relevance of these issues to the diagnosis and classification of autism is noted.