Psychiatric Association Approves Autism Changes to Diagnostic Manual
When the new guidebook goes into effect in May, a child who has symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome, (problems with social interaction and unusual interests or behaviors but less likely to have problems with language or intellectual ability), will no longer be told he has Asperger’s but rather “autism spectrum disorder (ASD).” The same goes for a child meeting the criteria for PDD-NOS or classic autism.
“I’m feeling quite good about the series of recommendations that were made in that area. It will help us diagnose these children in a more consistent way,” said Dr. David J. Kupfer, who chairs the DSM-5 Task Force.
New research has led experts to have a better hand on social and communicative disorders as well as repetitive behaviors, he said.
Over the past few years, the APA has posted possible revisions of criteria, inviting comments from the other researchers and the public.
But these incremental revisions raised concerns among some researchers and advocacy groups who feared the new criteria would result in many children losing their autism diagnosis and much-needed services.
For example, in March, a study presented by Yale autism expert Dr. Fred Volkmar suggested only 60% of those meeting current criteria for autism would still be diagnosed with the disorder under the proposed criteria.