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Social (pragmatic) communication disorders and autism spectrum disorder
  1. Gillian Baird1,
  2. Courtenay Frazier Norbury2
  1. 1Evelina, Newcomen Centre, Guy's and St Thomas NHS Trust, King's Health Partners, London, UK
  2. 2Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Gillian Baird, Evelina, Newcomen Centre, Guy's and St Thomas NHS Trust, King's Health Partners, London SE1 7EH, UK; gillian.baird{at}


Changes have been made to the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and similar changes are likely in the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) due in 2017. In light of these changes, a new clinical disorder, social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SPCD), was added to the neurodevelopmental disorders section of DSM-5. This article describes the key features of ASD, SPCD and the draft ICD-11 approach to pragmatic language impairment, highlighting points of overlap between the disorders and criteria for differential diagnosis.

  • Neurodevelopment
  • Child Psychiatry

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