New Definition of Autism Will Do Harm

An expert panel, appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, is working on a new definition for autism.  They are working to narrow the criteria for autism, in order to lower the rate of autism spectrum disorders diagnosis.  They are working towards excluding high functioning autism (PDD-NOS and Asperger’s) from the spectrum.

Under the current criteria, a person can qualify for the diagnosis by exhibiting 6 or more of 12 behaviors; under the proposed definition, the person would have to exhibit 3 deficits in social interaction and communication and at least 2 repetitive behaviors, a much narrower menu. – NYTimes

If these proposed changes were to happen, many children and adults will lose their much needed supports.  In my opinion, this would be disastrous. It takes a lot of paperwork, time, and money on the part of parents, to get a diagnosis for their child.  Then, it takes a lot of time and paperwork to get the services needed.

If these proposed changes were to happen, our children could lose their health coverage, therapy, community supports, and even their secure classroom.  Without the diagnosis, children with an IEP based on an autism diagnosis, could lose the protection of an IEP.  They would be completely lost in the public school settings.  It’s hard enough for our children to get their needs met in school, but it would be impossible without an IEP.

I think that the government is scared about the rise in Autism rates.  I believe that they don’t want to spend the time and money to help families with autism, and to find out what causes Autism, so they are using the American Psychiatric Association to lower the Autism rates.  This is horrible!  Changing the definition of autism will not help.  It will cause a lot more harm to the number of children and adults that are currently diagnosed with autism, as well as those that will no longer be diagnosed (but need to in order to receive the services needed to help them) with autism.

Leave the definition of Autism alone.  Instead, find out what causes it and how to help those who are diagnosed with autism.


6 comments on “New Definition of Autism Will Do Harm

  1. I heard about this new definition and it’s effects on our local news. Horrible, especially for high functioning people, because it said they will be overlooked more now. It’s ridiculous they seem to care more about helping than curing!

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