Lots of opinions back and forth over the New York Times article on the proposed changes to the DSM-V. Ari Ne’eman, founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network thinks this could be helpful in terms of getting more services, parents of children with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome fear the loss of identity for their children. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is being revised, with the updated version due out in 2012, and current discussions suggest that Asperger Syndrome will be eliminated as a diagnosis—but will be under the autism spectrum disorder umbrella. As one Aspie said, “That’s dumb. How will you know what type of autism someone has if you get rid of that label?” Given that some researchers talk about “autisms”, with different genetic links, it might be helpful to wait for the results of more research. Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University, thinks it’s premature to remove the diagnosis.
Does having a separate category for Asperger Syndrome divide the autism community? Some mental health agencies state flatly that they do not provide services for people with AS—mistakenly thinking that the intellectual level means the disorder is not debilitating enough. Would the autism community be able to advocate more effectively if there were fewer divisions? Maybe schools wouldn’t be able to refuse services to someone with an autism spectrum disorder, as can happen with AS.
Interesting discussion by individuals on the spectrum and diagnosed with AS at Wrong Planet, too.
What do YOU think? Let the American Psychiatric Association know!