The American Psychological Association seems to be moving forward with plans to merge the Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Aspergers diagnostic classifications into one category called “Autism Spectrum Disorder” in the new DSM-5. The DSM is the standard by which mental health disorders are diagnosed and differentiated in the United States.
I have worked with students with these disorders for over 20 years. I think the classifications should remain as they are or ideally removed from the DSM entirely- it is not really a “mental disorder”. For example, a child with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is markedly different from a child with Aspergers syndrome with needs that vary widely. These two disorders have disparate symptoms, onset and prognoses! It would be like saying “We’ll its all cancer, so it makes no difference if it is a brain tumor or a malignant melanoma!” A correct diagnosis can lend itself to the most appropriate treatment in any medical condition. But once again autism is not being treated as the medical condition that it is. Way to go APA.
Check out the link below for more information.
To read more about this change and to sign up to comment directly to the APA: http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx