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Changes to Autism Diagnosis

A parent asked me yesterday about the change in the diagnostic criteria for autism in the DSM-V.  Here are my thoughts…

The changes that are being made are, in my humble opinion, very positive. Currently, if a child is diagnosed with autism, they either have it or they don’t. As every parent of a child with autism knows and as the name implies, this is a spectrum disorder.  At this point there is no way of distinguishing a child who is functionally verbal, socially curious, and performing at grade-level cognitively from a child who is functionally non-verbal, is overstimulated by ANY social interaction and cognitively way below grade level. They are both diagnosed as having autism disorder. The same goes for PDD-NOS, Asperger’s syndrome, and CDD.

The new changes would place these four disorders under the umbrella term, autism spectrum disorder and would “specify a range of severity as well as describe the individual’s overall developmental status–in social communication and other relevant cognitive and motor behaviors.” The full article can be found here:

The proposed changes would help with more accurate diagnosis and more refined therapy techniques. Placing children in such a general category as autism disorder can be dangerous. If we have more specific assessments and criteria, it will likely lead to more accurate results in diagnosis and therapy.


About Express Yourself SLP

Express Yourself Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) offers treatment, prevention, advocacy, education, and administration, in the areas of communication and swallowing from birth through 18 years of age These are the areas of speech, language and feeding I work on with chidlren in their own homes or in the community: Articulation – finding the right place in the mouth to make a sound like /s/ or /r/. Expressive Language – grammar, vocabulary development, and language development (this might be sign language or verbal language) Disfluency (stuttering) – decreasing and eliminating disfluency and concomitant behaviors associated with stuttering. Feeding – increasing food repetoire including textures, colors, and flavors. Receptive Language - comprehension of verbal or signed language Social Language – understanding and implementing expected social rules in play and conversation. This can be individually or in groups with peers Sessions are 50 minutes. Parents or caregivers must be present when sessions are in the home. If the caregiver would like a community outting, the child must be driven to the desired location by a caregiver or it should be within walking distance of the home. Parents or caregivers are also welcome and encouraged to join in community outtings.

One response »

  1. Pingback: D – is for Diagnosis A-Z Blog Challenge Day 4 | Set in My Ways

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