More on proposed change in autism diagnosis
Posted on January 27th, 2012 by Lisa
I read the post Patricia Wright published here (titled Autism services should be based on need, not diagnosis) with great interest. The revisions proposed to theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be part of the first major revision to this manual in 17 years, and an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association is assessing the impact of a narrowed definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The New York Times article Patricia mentioned in her post described the proposed narrowing of the definition of Autism — it would consolidate the current definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder, eliminating Asperger syndrome and P.D.D.-N.O.S. from the manual.
Many of us working in social services have already experienced the impact of narrowed eligibility for services. Here at Easter Seals Central Texas, we have already experienced a 25% drop from last year in the number of children enrolled in our Early Childhood Intervention program. We attribute this to the narrowing of eligibility criteria in Texas that already began in September. Eliminating services for children early on like this will surely leave many children with continued needs as they enter the public education system — where the cost for providing services increases significantly.
Criteria proposed for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are posted on the DSM-5 web site and will be open for additional public comment this spring. Final publication of DSM-5 is planned for May 2013.