Diagnosis according to DSM IV takes place through an anamnestic talk with the parents (caretakers/ custodian) as well as play- and behavior observations of the patient concerned.
According to DSM IV, the symptoms are divided into three groups, with at least 6 points from the diagnostic criteria having to be met in order to be able to diagnose “early childhood autism”.
1. Qualitative impairment of social interaction (at least 2 characteristics must apply).
1.1. Pronounced impairment in the use of various non-verbal behaviors, such as B. Eye contact, posture and facial expressions to control social interactions
1.2. Inability to develop developmental relationships with their own peer group
1.3. Inability to spontaneously share joy, interests, or successes with others.
1.4. Lack of socio-emotional reciprocity.
2. Qualitative impairment of communication (at least one criterion must apply)
2.1. Delayed onset or failure to develop language.
2.2. For people with language skills, significant impairment of the ability to start or continue a conversation.
2.3. In the presence of language, abnormal rhythm of speech, emphasis, speed, pitch or intonation as well as stereotypes.
2.4. Lack of role-playing games, imitation games or fantasy games.
3. Stereotypical and repetitive behaviors and limited interests (at least 1 criterion must apply).
3.1. Limited interests, stereotypical behavior.
3.2. Stoic adherence to habits and rituals. Responding to changes with resistance and even panic.
3.3. Stereotypical motor manners, such as rotating movements or fluttering of hands, bouncing or complex movements of the whole body.
3.4. Non-object activity with toys, activity with parts of objects such as turning the wheels of car toys …
If the criteria are not fully met and only a few symptoms are present, one speaks of atypical autism or developmental disorders with autistic features.