Proposed Changes in Autism Definition in DSM-5
There has been widespread media coverage of the changes in the autism definition proposed for the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Unfortunately, the impact of these changes has not been formally assessed by the medical community. Narrowing the diagnostic criteria will likely affect access to care, which is often linked to formal diagnoses in educational and health care systems. Access should instead be linked to need and potential for benefit. However, until that date, understanding the impact of any change to diagnostic criteria should be part of the process.
More information on the proposed changes to DSM-5 can be found at www.dsm5.org. There will be a third and final opportunity to submit comments about the changes to the American Psychiatric Association’s work groups in spring of this year.