Word of Drastic Changes to DSM-V Autism Definitions Reaching the Mainstream Press

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Editor’s Note:  Thank You to PediaStaff’s own Janell Marino for sending us this article.

[Source: New York Times via MSNBC]

Proposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and may make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services, a new analysis suggests.

The definition is under review by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The D.S.M, as the manual is known, is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions.

The study results, presented on Thursday at a meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association, are still preliminary, but they offer the latest and most dramatic estimate of how tightening the criteria for autism could affect the rate of diagnosis. Rates of autism and related disorders like Asperger’s Syndrome have taken off since the early 1980s, to prevalence rates as high as one in 100 children in some places. Many researchers suspect that these numbers are inflated because of vagueness in the current criteria.

Read the Rest of this Article on MSNBC.com

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3 Responses to Word of Drastic Changes to DSM-V Autism Definitions Reaching the Mainstream Press

  1. Mary Scholer says:

    I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for close to 37 years.

    Until about 12 years ago, we only had 2 children in the first 25 with autism. Now it’s only a handful of children we are seeing who do not have autism. I do not believe the national rates of autism are correct. I think the US rates of autism are likely about the same 1 in 38 children affected with autism.

    I think it is unconscionable that the DSM is trying to eliminate services for many children who DO have autism, so the costs associated with the disorder (for special education, speech, OT, PT , behavior management and social skill development) can be reduced, eliminating services to many, many children who will not progress without these vital services.

  2. Claudia Michalak says:

    I also feel that this is a way to reduce the amount of money going out to help these children. I am a mom who has a child diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and I am an Occupational Therapist. I have seen many changes especially in the school system with reduced OT services. Many parents have to seek OT services outside the school to help their children because the school does not provide enough amount of time for their child. We all need to advocate and try to stop this from happening.

  3. Aja says:

    What people don’t realize is that obtaining a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the child will get an iep or services. There are some neuropsychologists who “give away” diagnoses based on parent report ( and payment). There are others who do not give the diagnosis even when it is glaringly obvious that the child is on theASD spectrum ( because the parents do not want it). There probably does need to be some tightening up of the diagnosis criteria. Every child who is a little quirky or different gets a diagnosis and these kids are being labeled. A child’s service delivery should be based on their inability to access the curriculum regardless of their diagnosis. I am talking about the schools here. I know medically insurance companies like to see the diagnosis.