Diagnostic Criteria


A. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:

Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for the social context.
Impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as

Autism Spectrum

speaking differently in a classroom than on the playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.
Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.
Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).


B. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.

C. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).

D. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains or word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.