Of Immediate Interest:
The New Diagnostic Guidelines (DSM-5): How You Will Be Affected
The new changes in the DSM-5 diagnosis document will be coming out Saturday, May 18, 2013. Below is an information sheet we are posting on our website and Facebook messaging page.
There is a lot of discussion on the changes related to a new autism diagnosis. While we are being told individuals will not lose services or being denied services if they have an existing diagnosis of autism, it is impossible to say that. Each government entity and service provider may choose to re-diagnosis if it wishes. Given the need for many states to reduce costs, it is possible that the changes may impact a person living with autism who currently is getting government funded services.
As we note in the attached information sheet, please encourage any person or family that is impacted by this change as it relates to reduction or elimination of any services, not to accept the change without pursuing all options available to him/her in continuing such services. As you know, we have a seven day a week AutismSource Contact Center that has trained and certified professionals able to answer calls from parents or individuals regarding these changes and what to do if a change is made that an individual or parent doesn't want to have occur. They can be reached at 1-800-3-AUTISM (800-328-8476). On Saturday, May 18, 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees will release the final diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). DSM-5 is the guidebook used by many clinicians, organizations and researchers to diagnose a particular disorder, including autism.
The DSM-5 will make some changes on how autism is defined. In the past, the Diagnostic Manual defined what a diagnosis of autism needed to include but also separated out Asperger Syndrome and some other common elements of autism. In the new DSM-5, there will no longer be a separate diagnosis category for Asperger Syndrome and other sub-parts of autism. The DSM-5 proposed revisions will now include one diagnosis definition for autism. In addition, the DSM-5 also reduces social related elements of autism into social communication impairment and repetitive/restricted behaviors.
Those working on the DSM-5 have repeated many times that no one with a current diagnosis of autism will be impacted by these changes. However, it is possible, that government and other providers of programs might choose to re-evaluate using the new DSM-5 criteria for the purposes of receiving services.
The Autism Society of America strongly urges every government unit and service provider not to reduce or eliminate services to individuals currently getting services due to the change in the DSM-5 criteria. In addition, the Autism Society of America also encourages government units and service providers to fully understand and appreciate that a person who might not be defined as living with autism under the new DSM-5 criteria still needs the support and helping hand of the government.
If you or your child is denied services, have services reduced, or impacted in any other way because of this change, please do not hesitate to call AutismSource, the Autism Society of America's 7 day a week contact center for information and help. Trained and certified information specialists are available from 9:00a.m. to 9:00p.m. Monday thru Friday and from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. Saturday and Sunday (all times are Eastern Standard Time) to answer your call for help and information. In addition, you can access available services and other information at www.autism-society.org and go to the link for information on the home page.
Do not accept a denial of services, loss of services or reduction of services because of this change. In almost every government-funded program, you have a right to an appeal.
- To provide advocacy, support and thorough information on care, treatment, educational and habilitative service options available for those with autism spectrum disorders, autism-involved parents and families, and to professionals who work with them.
- To encourage expansion and develop excellence in a continuum of appropriate service options.
- To provide unbiased information for ALL such options to parents, families and to the caring professionals who work with them to reduce or overcome autism-disabling characteristics
- To help autism-involved parents, families and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us
What We Do
- We provide information and referral to parents and professionals about diagnosis, care, treatment, educational, medical and habilitative services.
- We provide names of facilities and individuals locally who can provide such services to those with autism spectrum disorders and their families.
- We provide advice and guidance to parents and families seeking necessary appropriate services for the family member.
- We solicit funds to help support these programs to the maximum extent possible.
- We advise facilities and/or professionals who are unfamiliar with autism and put them in touch with other professionals able to supplement their efforts.
- We encourage development and improvement of new and existing programs.
- We co-founded, in 2000, the SPECTRUM CHARTER SCHOOL, providing community based school-to-work education and training for students ages 12-21, including those with autism spectrum disorders.
- We advocate for the rights of those with autism to a free and appropriate education, appropriate care and treatment, and the rights of parents and families to obtain appropriate services for their family member with autism.
- We seek to enhance the effectiveness of existing programs by providing a forum for continuing education and the exchange of new ideas and approaches.
- We founded S.P.E.A.K. in 1974, a specialized summer program of education and community awareness building to prevent academic and social regression in children with autism spectrum disorders during summer months.
- We try to assist parents in resolving problems and obtaining appropriate services, or who feel that their family member has been excluded from an appropriate program.
- We maintain up-to-date reference files of pertinent literature, such as The Autism Research Review of the Autism Research Institute, and the national publication of the Autism Society of America, the Advocate.
- We maintain files, records, books pamphlets, articles newsletters and other references on autism that may be copied and mailed to students, parents, or professionals. This material may also be reviewed in our office by appointment.
- We prepare and deliver testimony on all autism-related topics, including those issues that are being litigated or considered for legislative action.
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