Friday, January 27, 2012

The Autism Society Comments on the Proposed DSM-5 Revisions

January 20, 2012By Autism SocietyChanging the definition of autism does not change the need for help. As the nation’s largest grassroots autism organization, the Autism Society’s foremost concern is that individuals with autism have access to the resources and services they need. As it exists today, the autism spectrum is vast. We are concerned that individuals who could lose the autism diagnosis may not fall under another classification, and would lose access to the appropriate services. With these changes, it is equally important that those who diagnose autism spectrum disorders have the training and information needed to diagnose appropriately. At this time, it is unknown exactly what impact the DSM-5 revisions will have on individuals living with autism. But, before any final decision is made, the Autism Society feels there needs to be an in-depth assessment on the impact the changes would have on individuals receiving services today and in the future. Of particular concern is the impact changes could have on lower income families, those who could not afford life-changing therapies and other services if not for an autism diagnosis. As a key aspect of the Autism Society’s strategic plan, the organization is focusing on ensuring all individuals showing the signs of autism are assessed and with an appropriate diagnosis by age 3, which makes way for appropriate early intervention services to begin. Early action drastically change outcomes and improves lives. Our major push in the next several years will be ensuring the information is accessible so that appropriate diagnoses are being made. As these changes affect the entire autism community, we are reaching out to other autism organizations to approach the American Psychiatric Association with one voice. The Autism Society will continue to share its thoughts and feelings about keeping the community inclusive as more information about the revisions is known. In the meantime, we strongly encourage people to get involved in the discussion.