So it has been made public that Aspergers Syndrome is no longer a separate diagnosis in the DSM V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) that is set to be released this May. Instead the DSM autism group has combined all forms of autism into one general umbrella to try to “better address the needs of everyone on the spectrum. However, this has brought about a variety of varying opinions. Some think that it will be easier to diagnose, where as other believe Aspie’s will be left out and/or not want to be compared to the stigma of the opposite end of the spectrum.
The main anxieties relate to how this change will influence clinical practice. One suggestion is that many high-functioning children (that is, children with fewer behavioral difficulties) who would meet criteria for a diagnosis under DSM-IV guidelines, would not qualify for a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder under the criteria set out by DSM-V.
Allen J. Francis, M.D., was the chair of the DSM IV and has not stayed silent on the many heated issues raised in regard to the DSM V. In his article Will the DSM-5 Reduce Rates of Autism, Francis states that Dr. Catherine Lord (the head of the DSM-5 autism group) “did find that using the new DSM-5 criteria caused about a 10% reduction in ASD diagnoses. That’s a lot of kids who will no longer qualify for the diagnosis and who will not get services. And Dr. Lord’s 10% estimate is almost certainly way too low because two of her study’s three data sets were not really representative of the typical children assessed for ASD. It is a very good bet that her results won’t generalize very accurately to real world settings where a much larger percentage of kids would lose the diagnosis.”
He goes on to reference doctors (Mattila, from Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry that have done studies proving that 46-63% of people diagnosed under the DSM-IV would still qualify under the DSM-V.
If you are not familiar with the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers see this link.
http://www.autreat.com/dsm4-aspergers.html You’ll note the distinguishing criteria is not clinically delayed development of speech. And this is also where you’ll see a divergance between those who write the current DSM diagnostic criteria and those who work with autism and Aspergers as a field of speciality.
The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) in May, 2013 will render the conditions of Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and Non-verbal Learning Disability as historical footnotes-similar to quaint terms like minimal brain dysfunction and hyperkinesis-since these conditions are not to be included in the newest version.
AS, ADHD, NLD, LD and PDD-NOS are all examples of high prevalence, neurologically-based developmental disorders which affect the way the brain processes information. As “hidden disabilities”, these conditions are based on a cluster of observable symptoms due to brain abnormalities, not emotional trauma. It is well-known that many people with these disorders generally have average to superior intelligence and above average verbal ability, yet have significant difficulty with job performance and social interactions
Aspies enjoy the fact that they share common traits with notable historic figures who may have had Asperger’s Syndrome, like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, several American presidents, and artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Beethoven, and Elvis. Many adults with Asperger’s dont want to live with the perceived stigma of being labelled with Autism, particuarly as Simon Baron-Cohen suggests in this article that science hasn’t had a chance to prove whether Autism and Asperger’s are biologically different.
The diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s has been: lack of eye contact, no delay in speech, difficulty making friends, unusual body posture or stimming, an obsession with one subject, not engaging in interactive play, severe difficulties in adjusting to change (transitioning from one activity or place to another). However, the criteria for autism under the DSM IV contains all the previously mentioned in acquiring an Asperger’s diagnosis except the person has no speech or delayed speech.
To compare the DSM IV diagnostic criteria click the CDC link http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html.
Other changes proposed by DSM-5 include defining autism spectrum disorders by two sets of core features — impaired social communication and social interactions, and restricted and repetitive behavior and interests. DSM-5 reorganizes the symptoms in these domains and includes those not previously included in DSM-IV, such as sensory interests and aversions.
DSM-5 deliberately added and organized things to try to bring in and better address the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders of all developmental levels and ages — including girls, who were not represented as well as they should be in DSM-IV,” Dr. Lord says.
The DSM V is scheduled to be published in May 2013, and people are eager to find out if insurance companies and school districts will be quick to undiagnosed the high-functioning autistics. I guess time will tell.
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