If you have read A Shade unDifferent recently, you know that I am not so pleased with the possible removal of Asperger’s Disorder from the DSM. You may also know that I have proposed my own criteria for AS. I find it easy to be negative or, perhaps, critical in a field that requires skepticism. Rather than look for and identify flaws, I decided to try the rose-colored glasses.
To begin with, from DSM-V.org, the proposed diagnostic criteria for ASDs:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Must meet criteria 1, 2, and 3:
1. Clinically significant, persistent deficits in social communication and interactions, as manifest by all of the following:
a. Marked deficits in nonverbal and verbal communication used for social interaction;
b. Lack of social reciprocity;
c. Failure to develop and maintain peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
2. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least TWO of the following:
a. Stereotyped motor or verbal behaviors, or unusual sensory behaviors
b. Excessive adherence to routines and ritualized patterns of behavior
c. Restricted, fixated interests
3. Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)
If you are familiar with the current criteria for Autistic Disorder and Asperger’s Disorder, you know that these changes are substantial and only time will tell in which direction these changes take us.
But, here are some possible improvements:
1. The removal of the classic, sometimes stereotypical social communicative behaviors — lack of eye contact, atypical postures and gestures — for a broader view that allows for “atypical” manifestations of atypicality.
2. The inclusion of sensory ANYTHING. The board of directors/researchers finally recognized the daily struggles with sensory overload.
3. The removal of an age specifier (36 months) that left children with a less specific and accurate diagnosis simply because of time, faulty memory, or a bureaucratic medical referral process.
Do you see anything that is a movement in the right direction?