Wednesday, February 01, 2012

DSM-5 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Disaster By Kim Oakley Should Be Mandatory Reading For The DSM-5 Committees

I have great respect for Kim Oakley  a California mother who has been honestly and courageously documenting her severely autistic son's self-injurious behavior on Youtube, Classic Autism kgaccount's channel,  for several years.  Within the past year she has also begun  a blog, Autism, Epilepsy and Self-Injurious Behavior, on which she presents her views on autism with  the same honesty and courage. 

Ms. Oakley's most recent blog comment DSM-5 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Disaster is as direct and to the point as the title itself.  She pulls no punches in ripping (deservedly) the DSM-5's failure to acknowledge the  serious and fundamental autism problem of self-injurious behavior:

"Has the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Lost It’s Collective Mind? Have the “36,000 Physician Leaders in mental health” ignored history? After all, decades of autism research show self-injurious behavior is a hallmark trait of severe autism.

Hundreds of research studies have been published on autism and self-injurious behavior. Hundreds of papers are written about autistics who present with self-injurious behavior. Thousands of experts have discussed the challenges of self-injury among autistics. Yet, today, you see no mention of self-injurious behavior in DSM-5 autism diagnosis.

Yes, the modern mental health leaders of the APA would have us believe autism with self-injurious behaviors doesn’t exist."

DSM-5 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Disaster elaborates further, asks many tough questions and provides a list of references to back up Ms Oakley's concerns about the DSM-5's failure to address such an important autism issue as SIB, self-injurious behavior.  

Notwithstanding that I have zero influence, standing or recognition with the DSM-5 teams, I strongly recommend that the DSM-5 committee members responsible for drafting the New Autism Spectrum Disorder read this comment by Kim Oakley, view the Youtube videos of her severely autistic son's self injurious behavior and reflect on this important issue. 

I would actually like to see the DSM-5 people consider contacting and meeting with Kim Oakley and her son to gain an understanding of severe autism and self-injurious behavior. Given the disdain that many members of the psychiatric and psychological professional communities have displayed towards the perspectives of  parent advocates of autistic children generally that is unlikely to occur but you never know. It might dawn on the DSM-5 team members that a parent like Kim Oakley has actual first hand, direct, 24/7 observations ... real evidence ... of the realities of severe autism and the challenges ... including self injurious behavior ... that it imposes on the lives of those it affects and the family members who care for them.  It might occur to them that she could provide them with the benefit of some real word autism experience and knowledge that they lack.

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