Monday, October 31, 2011

DSM5 Combining Autisms into One Autism Disorder: Why?

It is common place today to refer to autism(s), plural, rather than autism, singular.  So why is the DSM5 combing the autisms into one Autism Spectrum Disorder? It is common in both professional and parent based discussions of autism to encounter comments like "if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism".  So why pretend that these persons with widely varying challenges and deficits represent one diagnostic grouping?

My son is severely autistic and profoundly "developmentally delayed".  He has nothing in common with the persons with high functioning autism and Aspergers who write books, conduct research, make representations to the Supreme Court of Canada to oppose the only recognized evidence based treatment for autistic children, run successful businesses, get married, have children and drive automobiles.  

These very successful high functioning "free ranging Aspergians" and autistic persons  have very little in common with the "vast majority" of persons with Autistic Disorder and intellectual disability.  How does combining such different and diverse conditions under one umbrella help any of those involved, particularly those who are most severely affected by autism disorders. 

Very little media or research attention is now paid to those severely affected by the current Autistic Disorder.  Under the DSM5's New Autism Spectrum Disorder those most severely affected will likely disappear from the public and professional  radar screens altogether.

Why combine such different conditions under one  diagnostic label?  How does this help any of those who will carry the new label?

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