The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) new diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for autism has been widely publicized. While final decisions are still months away, the recommendations reflect the work of many of the nation’s best scientific and research minds and are supported by more than a decade of intensive study and analysis. The proposal by the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Work Group recommends a new category called Autism Spectrum Disorder which would incorporate several previously separate diagnoses, including autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder (syndrome), childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). This new category reflects members’ conclusion that a single spectrum disorder better describes our understanding about the pathology and clinical presentation of the neurodevelopmental disorders.
For the next 6 weeks, the public will once again be offered the opportunity to submit comments on the draft fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The preliminary draft revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for autism as well as revisions to the diagnostic criteria for other psychiatric diagnoses is open for final public comment from May 2nd through June 15th, 2012. This commenting period marks the third and final time DSM-5 draft criteria will be available for your feedback. Following this period the site will remain viewable with the draft proposals until DSM-5’s publication. Release of DSM-5 is scheduled for May 2013, culminating a 14-year revision process.
To learn more about the proposed changes to the criteria for autism and take part in this historic process, please visit the DSM-5.org Web site. Comments on the proposed revision to Autism Spectrum Disorder can be made directly via the Neurodevelopmental Disorders page.
Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD, CCBT, NCSP is author of the award-winning book, A Best Practice Guide to Assessment and Intervention for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Schools, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
© Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD