It’s that time again when they update us on the progress of how the clinical definitions of autism may be redefined in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. (Read more about this in our The Clinical Definitions of Autism, Asperger’s, and PDD-NOS post from a while back.)
The Neurodevelopmental Disorders working group for the DSM-V (V = 5th Edition) has an interesting list of issues related to ASDs that they are trying to reach conclusions on before the 2012 target date. (Note this is an older version of the list, but it’s still a fascinating read.) To say that whatever is ultimately approved for inclusion in this manual will affect the lives of both parents of autistic children and autistic persons is a serious understatement.
There has already been a lot of commentary and some controversy about this process. It does seem, however, that the working group assigned to revise the DSM for autism have tried to be methodical. careful, and sensitive to all the issues involved. Honestly, I think they were given an almost impossible task here. We won’t really know how well they succeeded until we see the first draft.
This NY Times article describes the latest controversial issue in this process as well as some ongoing ones. This most recent one has already drawn a ton of reaction and might easily be among the most talked about when the draft is released.
The big question being discussed now is whether Asperger’s as a specific, separate diagnosis will be left out of the next DSM. ‘PDD-NOS’ may also be going away. Without the draft actually existing yet, it’s hard to really dig into the real-world meaning of this, but for whatever these are worth, here are my comments about this and some other points.