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Proposed Changes to DSM's Autism Definition Likely to Raise Eyebrows

Few conditions seem to generate as much controversy as autism. The latest potential hornet's nest centers on the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is due out in 2013. The DSM, which is put out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is the mental health profession's bible, setting the standard for research, treatment and insurance decisions.

It's likely that the new DSM will have a very different definition of autism. Instead of three autism subtypes - Asperger syndrome, autism spectrum disorder and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) - there will be just one, autism spectrum disorder. Some experts believe the changes are needed because current definitions of autism are too hazy, leading perhaps to an over diagnosis of the condition.

The new definition is meant to streamline and clarify what it means to have autism. But many experts are quoted in news articles about being worried that it could radically limit the number of people who are diagnosed with autism, and thus deny them access to needed health, educational and social services. One of those concerned experts, Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine, expressed his concerns about the proposed changes at a recent Icelandic Medical Association meeting.

The panel downplays the numbers of people who will be affected, but no one really knows.

Read more about the proposed DSM changes at Diagnosing Autism and the APA's press release on the changes.

February 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm
(1) Sandy says:

If one looks at the history of the DSM, DSM lV is drastically changed from DSM lll. Just by comparing the 2, it easily can be concieve that the rates increased due to the far broader criteria.

There is also a difference from an autism diagnosis and an educational label. The only states where a DSM affected education and special ed were those states that have regional centers. Any where else, it’s not even required to have a medical diagnosis to qualify for special ed.

Social services in all states and counties are different, some never would cover autism if that was the diagnosis. Same with insurance. Those issue wont go away or become better with any change in the DSM, and this wont be the last time the DSM will have changes.

October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm
(2) Renee says:

I would like to tell you about a new book on Autism that Iíve written and is about to be published. This book is called Understanding Children and Families with Autism Spectrum Disorders http://sbpra.com/ReneeSilverberg/

I wrote the book on Autism because it is a very important topic that children and families, parents, schools, educators, college education students, nursing students and medical people are dealing with. It is my hope that this book will help a lot of people.

I would appreciate if you would forward this email to people on your email list. I appreciate your support and assistance to get the word out that this book is currently available for purchase to all who need help with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The web site is: http://sbpra.com/ReneeSilverberg/.

Thank you.

Renee (Rivki) Silverberg

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