Sunday, June 03, 2007

Know your DSM!

The use of “metaphorical language” was mentioned in one of the diagnostic criteria for “Infantile Autism” in the DSM-III published in 1980, but metaphorical language or use of metaphor is not mentioned at all in the diagnostic criteria for “Autistic Disorder” in the DSM-IV, which only mentions “idiosyncratic language”. Was mention of metaphorical language use as an autistic trait dropped from the official diagnostic criteria in order to bring official definitions of autism into line with the belief held by some clinicians that autistic people have no imagination and have no ability to understand metaphor? I’m totally confused now; is it a healthy thing or is it a sign of pathology to use metaphorical language? My head is spinning!

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; it’s a zany, zany book!

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