I been wanting to write about this issue for a while, but I was in a state of disbelief, and shock when all these news started to come out.
I am sure everyone who knows about autism, or caring for an autistic child read about this already. Some of these revision can potentially result in loss of services for the children. In their tender age when every day counts to have a chance to get better, and acquire new skills, they might not get their services because of the new definition of their diagnosis.
At present time the diagnosis of Autism disorder is made when the child displays 6 or more of the 12 symptoms across three major areas …
behavior (like repetitive preoccupations of areas of interest with abnormal intensity)
communication (absence of language, or language delays)
social interaction (unable to interact or maintain relationship)
In the new version of DSM if the children exhibit some of the behaviors but does not meet the criteria they may be diagnosed with PDD NOS, Aspergers , Rett syndrome, or childhood disintegrative disorder.
As we all know Rett syndrome, Aspergers, and PDD NOS will be removed from DSM V. Speech delays will not be a must for diagnosis, but sensory issues can be added . DSM V is being developed by a group of mental health professionals. The new version that said to come out in 2013, propose the severity levels of autism.
How can one evaluation define if an ASD child
1). Requiring support
2)’ Requiring substantial support
3). Requiring very substantial support.
This part I am very skeptical about, because as we all know with our ASD kids, their behavior changes by the minute. So it seems like there will be times when these severity levels will be based on some ones opinion. My son might have a wonderful morning , but can be very hard to manage for the rest of the day. Depending on different circumstance, or he might be unmanageable during the time of evaluation which last only a few hrs, and he will be fine for the rest of the day. The last case scenario is OK, because he would fall into a category of ” requiring substantial support” which will allow him to get the services he needs, and more possibly. But the first case scenario can be detrimental for the child who might not get the services they require otherwise.
I agree there are occasions that even the blind can see that this individual requires very substantial support, but most times a 2 hrs evaluation will not do justice with these categorization of the severity of autism.
My only, but very valid concern is, how will these changes affect my son’s services? Will he be able to receive his therapies, or it will be eliminated or reduced? I think most parents keeping a watchful eyes on these revisions, and might be feeling somewhat uneasy about it.
As always I have to exercise optimism, and believe that these mental health professionals will have our children’s best interest in their mind, and not looking to save money for the insurance companies.
One can only hope.