Changes to DSM-5
On Saturday May 18, 2013, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees will release the final diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). DSM-5 is a guidebook used by many clinicians, organizations and researchers to diagnose a particular disorder, including autism.
The DSM-5 will make some changes on how autism is defined. In the past, the Diagnostic Manuel defined what a diagnosis of autism needed to include but also separated out Asperger Syndrome and some other common elements of autism. In the new DSM-5, there will no longer be a separate diagnosis category for Asperger Syndrome and other sub-parts of autism. In addition, the DSM-5 also reduces social related elements of autism into social communication impairments and repetitive/restricted behaviors.
Those working on the DSM-5 have repeated many times that no one with a current diagnosis of autism will be impacted by these changes. However, it is possible that the government and other providers of programs might choose to re-evaluate using the new DSM-5 criteria for the purposes of receiving services.
The Autism Society of America Strongly urges every government unit and service provider not to reduce or eliminate services to individuals currently getting services due to the changes in the DSM-5 criteria. In addition, the Autism Society of American also encourages government units and services providers to fully understand and appreciate that a person who might not be defined as living with autism under the new DSM-5 criteria still needs the support and helping hand of the government.
If you or your child is denied services, have services reduced, or impacted in any other way because of this change, please do not hesitate to call AutismSource, The Autism Society of America’s 7 day a week contact center for more information and help. Trained and certified information specialists are available from 9:00am-9:00pm Monday through Friday and 9:00am-5:00pm Saturday and Sunday (all times are Eastern Standard Times) to answer your call for help and information. In addition you can access available services and other information at www.autism-society.org and on to the link for information on the home page.
Do not accept a denial of services, loss of services or reduction of services because of this change. In almost every government funded program, you have the right to an appeal.