Posts Tagged ‘Diagnosis’

What do you think?

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

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.

Link:
DSM 5 pushes forward in decision to change Aspergers classification

To read more about this change and to sign up to comment directly to the APA: http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx

Is it autism?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

I have been contacted recently by several individuals who are concerned that a very young child they know might have autism. They want to know what the earliest signs of autism are and how they can detect them. Many caregivers focus on whether or not the child is talking, walking or any of the other normal developmental milestones that most people are familiar with. But these milestones may not be a helpful tool in determining whether or not a child should be referred for evaluation for autism and accomplishment of these kinds of milestones may not rule out autism either.

There are different types of milestones, ones not often included in typical published lists, which should be evaluated. http://www.firstsigns.org has done a fabulous job of compiling and presenting these milestones here:

http://www.firstsigns.org/healthydev/milestones.htm

At the heart of these milestones is social reciprocity, the sharing of joy, attention and information, with eyes, gestures and later, words.

Also this site has a list of “red flags” for autism that warrant further investigation and evaluation if a child is demonstrating anything on this list.

http://www.firstsigns.org/concerns/flags.htm

For example if a toddler does not use gestures such as pointing and showing items, this could be a cause for concern.

The site also has a video glossary to contrast the difference in children meeting the milestones normally doing a variety of activities and children who have ASD attempting the same activities.

This site is a must read for anyone concerned about a child and autism.