A story today from the Associated Press discusses the proposed changes in how autism is defined.
The American Psychiatric Association is looking to make the revisions in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
According to the AP story, the proposed changes include:
— A new “autism spectrum disorder” category would be created, describing symptoms that generally appear before age 3. It would encompass children with “autistic disorder,” now used for severe cases, plus those with two high-functioning variations.
— Autistic disorder and high-functioning variations — Asperger’s disorder and PDD-NOS, or “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified” — would be eliminated, but their symptoms would be covered under the new category.
— Another new category, “social communication disorder,” would include children who relate poorly to others and have trouble reading facial expressions and body language. A small percentage of children now labeled with PDD-NOS would fit more accurately into this diagnosis, autism panel members say.
Some parents are concerned the changes would mean their kids won’t qualify for services that help them in their day-to-day lives. Meanwhile, some doctors say the changes would only help better define which children need certain services.
Do you have a child with autism? What are your thoughts on the proposed changes?