American Psychiatric Association to release new Autism diagnostic criteria

American Psychiatric Association to release new Autism diagnostic criteria (Image 1)

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will release the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) this weekend at their annual conference. 

The DSM-5 will include significant changes to the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

According to the APA, “The revised diagnosis represents a new, more accurate, and medically and scientifically useful way of diagnosing individuals with autism-related disorders.”  While the DSM-IV included separated diagnoses for Asperger's, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Autistic Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), the DSM-5 eliminates the separate diagnoses.  

The APA expects that, “Anyone diagnosed with one of the four pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) from DSM-IV should still meet the criteria for ASD in DSM-5 or another, more accurate DSM-5 diagnosis.”

The South Carolina Autism Society has been in communication with both state and national professionals regarding the DSM-5.  We are working with DDSN, MUSC, USC, and GHS to assess how these changes may affect individuals affected by autism.  It is expected that those qualifying for DDSN services under the DSM-IV will continue to qualify under DSM-5.  We anticipate no disruption in services.

We urge every government agency and service provider to at a minimum maintain current levels of service, and not reduce or eliminate services to any individual currently getting services due to the DSM-5 changes.  If you or a family member are denied services, or experience a reduction in services as a result of the DSM-5, please contact us at 803-750-6988 or 800-438-4790.

It will take some time for medical professionals, and others qualified to diagnose ASDs, to fully incorporate the new DSM-5 criteria.  As such, the full impact of the DSM-5 may not be known for some time.  

Rest assured that the South Carolina Autism Society will continue to stay on top of this situation, and provide updates as appropriate.  We will continue to advocate on behalf of families affected by autism, to ensure that all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders can reach their maximum potential.

View the APAs fact sheet on Autism Spectrum Disorder under the DSM-5.

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