"Autism Spectrum Disorder
Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:"
Autism annual reviews have been published by a number of sources most of which ignored or mis-characterized the most important autism event of 2012. The most important event by far and the one with the most negative implications for those who actually suffer from autism symptoms was the APA approval, on Saturday, December 1, just before the holiday season, of the DSM5 as it is now written including the new Autism Spectrum Disorder. The new ASD will preclude future autism diagnoses for those most severely affected by autism symptoms: those with moderate to severe intellectual disability.
I have written many times about the express targeting for exclusion of those with intellectual disabilities. I have been virtually alone in my criticism of this exclusion but I stand by my objection to that exclusion. It is reprehensible. It helps insurance providers and governments that seek to reduce provision of autism treatment and benefits. It helps those academics and researchers who are building careers researching every trivial idea they find fascinating without helping or bringing anyone with an autism disorder any closer to treatment or cure of the symptoms which in fact restrict their ability to function in the real world. They are now free to conduct autism research without the need to include difficult to work with intellectually disabled, severely autistic children and adults among their subjects. It helps those persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers, their parents and other loved ones, who feel stigmatized by association with low functioning, intellectually disabled autistic children and adults.
Intellectual opposition to the direction the DSM5 is taking autism did arise in 2012 in Rethinking Autism: Variation and Complexity by Professor Lynn Waterhouse. She has articulated in a very comprehensive analysis, backed by learned authorities on every point, the fundamental problems with the new streamlined, simplified version of autism. The title summarizes her arguments succinctly: autism is in essence a group of symptoms characterized by variation, heterogeneity and complexity. The unified, simplified DSM5 ASD ignores that heterogeneity. Every parent, academic and clinician who has repeated Stephen Shore's caution, now a cliche, "if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism" knows that autism is heterogenous, varied and complex. The DSM5 however, contrary to all research and real life experience, pretends otherwise. The DSM5 ASD is a false step, a road block to the understanding of autism disorders, autism symptoms. Debates over whether autism is increasing, and what factors are involved with causing autism will be muddied again for another generation by the redefinition of autism.
The moderately and severely intellectually disabled who otherwise display the social communication and restrictive, repetitive criteria of the DSM5's New Autism Spectrum Disorder, will not be included in the new autism diagnostic era. They will be relegated to the Intellectual Disability group which will receive very little research attention or dedication of resources. After all it will be deemed wiser to concentrate resources, including treatment and cure research resources, on those for whom successful results are more likely .... just as the distinguished, open minded, intellectually conflict free and oh so compassionate members of the DSM5 autism committee have done in their pre-Christmas gift to the intellectually disabled, severely affected members of the pre-DSM5 autism spectrum.