DSM-V criteria for diagnosis of autism criticism rebutted

June 1, 2012

A proposed revision to the DSM-V criteria for a diagnosis of autism had critics charging that many patients with autism spectrum disorders would no longer quality for their diagnoses and would lose access to government services.

A proposed revision to the DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of autism had critics charging that many patients with autism spectrum disorders would no longer qualify for their diagnoses and would lose access to government services. The critics cited a study from Yale University in which applying the proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorders would exclude a large number of patients with Asperger's syndrome and overt autism.

At the 2012 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Susan Swedo, chief of the neuroscience branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, presented field trial results that demonstrated that the new diagnostic term, called "autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" under the proposed DSM-V criteria, would capture almost all patients currently diagnosed with autism.

The working group for DSM-V has proposed that autistic disorder, Asperger's, childhood integrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified be folded under the umbrella term "ASD" with a single set of criteria and severity ratings.