Sunday, October 7, 2012

Study finds DSM autism update may have little impact

Disability Scoop offers hopeful news in regard to proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). An Oct. 2 summary by Michelle Diament cites “the largest study yet examining proposed changes to the autism diagnosis.”

The study was published Oct. 1 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Proposed changes to the DSM brought widespread concern in the autism community “after a study earlier this year suggested that a significant number of people currently diagnosed with autism may not qualify under the new definition.”

The new study, however, “suggests that those fears may be largely unwarranted.” Among 4,453 children diagnosed with autism under DSM-IV criteria, the study found that 91 percent would still qualify for diagnosis.

Disability Scoop quotes Catherine Lord, the study’s senior investigator and the director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Westchester campus:
“I know that parents worry, but I don’t believe there is any substantial reason to fear that children who need to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and provided with vital services, will not be included in the new criteria in this updated manual.”
As explained by Disability Scoop:
“Under the DSM proposal, autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified would be folded under one umbrella diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorders,” with clinicians indicating a level of severity associated with an individual’s condition. To qualify for an autism diagnosis under the new criteria, a person would have to exhibit specific types of deficits in socialization and behavior.”
But the true test, as stated in the Disability Scoop summary, “will come when clinicians of varying pedigrees will be left to interpret the changes.”

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