Autism Society's Official Comments to DSM-5 Work Group
June 15, 2012
By Autism Society
June 15, 2012
DMS5 Task Force and Work Group
American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
To the members of the DSM-5 Task Force and Work Group:
The Autism Society is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots organization committed to helping all individuals affected by autism. Since 1965, the Autism Society has been a national leader providing education, information and personal support to thousands affected by the fastest-growing developmental disability. In this capacity, it is imperative that we comment on the pending changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) regarding the diagnostic classification of autism spectrum disorder.
The Autism Society recognizes that the existing criteria for diagnosing autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and PDD-NOS (all specific diagnoses under Pervasive Developmental Disorders) results in disparities from person to person. There is a need to ensure the diagnostic criteria for ASDs are clear and objective.
While we believe that revisions are needed, it is imperative that those who qualify for services based on their current diagnostic label do not lose their ability to access needed services. In times of federal and state budget cuts, the Autism Society fears that any change in the diagnosis of autism in the DSM-5 might negatively impact these individuals and their family members. Accordingly, we urge the DSM-5 committee to carefully consider all potential implications before finalizing the next edition of the manual.
We are supportive of the recommendations and suggestions identified in the Autism Speaks position statement on the DSM-5 revisions and the comments made by the Autistic Self Advocate Network (ASAN) in their position statement sent to APA. Both organizations identify critical concerns that we agree need to be addressed in the revisions.
The Autism Society appreciates the work of the committee to ensure that how and when ASD is diagnosed is consistent so services can be better tailored to meet needs. However, the Autism Society urges the committee to carefully examine all implications to the individuals with special needs who could lose their diagnosis, and consequentially, their access to services.
We again thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important matter.
Scott B. Badesch
President/Chief Operating Officer
Cc: Autism Society of America Board of Directors
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