Early next year, a new definition of autism will be used by scientists in order to more precisely diagnose kids with the brain disorder.

The diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, considered a “higher functioning” form of autism, will disappear once the new criteria for identifying the disorder come out in May 2013, according to Dr. Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. The latter is a collaborative program between New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University, in partnership with the New York Center for Autism.

The proposed changes on how doctors define and diagnose autism were the subject of a research study conducted by Lord and published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Read more:

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