New Autism Definition May Decrease Diagnoses by One-Third The latest diagnosis guidelines for autism spectrum disorder issued by the American Psychiatric Association may reduce by almost one-third the number of people being diagnosed, according to research published in the February 2014 Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The APA guidelines released in May 2013 were the first major ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   May 01, 2014
New Autism Definition May Decrease Diagnoses by One-Third
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   May 01, 2014
New Autism Definition May Decrease Diagnoses by One-Third
The ASHA Leader, May 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB6.19052014.14
The ASHA Leader, May 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB6.19052014.14
The latest diagnosis guidelines for autism spectrum disorder issued by the American Psychiatric Association may reduce by almost one-third the number of people being diagnosed, according to research published in the February 2014 Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The APA guidelines released in May 2013 were the first major update to psychiatric diagnosis criteria in almost two decades—but they may leave thousands of children each year without the ASD diagnosis needed to qualify for social services, medical benefits and educational support.
A team led by Kristine M. Kulage of Columbia University School of Nursing conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to determine the effect of changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the APA’s classification tool for psychiatric conditions, on diagnosis of people with ASD. The study found a statistically significant decrease in ASD diagnosis of 31 percent using the new manual, DSM-5, compared with the number of cases of ASD that would have been identified under DSM-IV—raising the concern that a child not on the autism spectrum under the new guidelines but who may have been given the diagnosis under the old criteria will now not be eligible to receive needed services.
Under DSM-5, the authors found a statistically significant 22 percent decrease in autistic disorder diagnoses, compared with DSM-IV, and a statistically significant decrease of 70 percent in diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified. The decline in diagnosis of Asperger syndrome was not statistically significant. Additionally, some people who no longer met criteria for ASD under DSM-5 also failed to meet criteria for social communication disorder.
1 Comment
May 17, 2014
Candace Brown
Change is good!
I think it is a good thing the diagnosis has become more specific. I notice more and more children in my practice everyday who have received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder but do not seem to fit the criteria. They do have delays, but they are not in the area of social interaction. If the diagnosis of autism is more stringent, then doctors will be forced to do proper differential diagnosis and find out what is really going on with these kids instead of slapping the typical ASD diagnosis on them. I'm Canadian, and I find a disproportionate amount of funding goes towards autism, most likely because the high amount of misdiagnosis causes it to be perceived as a huge health crisis. If less kids get a diagnosis, funding will become less based on the label, and more based on the actual needs of all kids, whether or not they have an official diagnosis. And parents will be less likely to push for a potentially inappropriate diagnosis, because they will have peace of mind knowing their child will get services regardless.
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May 2014
Volume 19, Issue 5