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Psychiatrists Cut Asperger's Syndrome From 'Bible' (But Don't Freak Out Yet)

by Jacqueline Burt on December 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

aspergersLike many parents, my first reaction when I heard about Asperger's Syndrome being dropped from the next revision of the the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual (otherwise known as the DSM-5, or the psychiatrist's "bible") was one of concern. Not because either one of my children have Asperger's, but because the idea of redefining mental illness -- which, in turn, influences whether or not insurance companies pay for treatment and how much money schools spend on special education programs -- raises so many incredibly complicated questions. The most terrifying of all, at least to me: What if we're wrong? Whether a kid is wrongly diagnosed and treated for a disorder they don't have or NOT diagnosed/treated at all for a disorder they do have -- the potential consequences are devastating. And if we're rewriting the rules now, that must mean we were getting a lot wrong for a long time, right? 

Maybe not.

First of all, Asperger's isn't disappearing, so to speak. Instead, the particular disorder will fall under the blanket "autism spectrum disorder" diagnosis, which is (finally) being added to the manual. So instead of fewer kids receiving treatment, autism experts say the changes could do the exact opposite, as some states and schools provide fewer services for children who are diagnosed with Asperger's than those with autism.

What's in a name? Funding, in this case. So it seems the changes aren't really about the nature of Asperger's Syndrome, after all. And I'm all for any changes that make help available to kids who need it.

Still, like I said, I don't have kids with Asperger's syndrome -- would I feel differently if I did?

Do you think dropping Asperger's Syndrome from the DSM-5 is a good thing for kids or not?


Image via hepingting/Flickr

Filed Under: autism, in the news, toddler health, toddler development

Comments

8
  • divam...
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    divamomtjcj

    December 3, 2012 at 9:17 PM
    this worries me bad my son has Aspergers
  • Jessy...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Jessy Roos

    December 3, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Many physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists have been using a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder for almost 10 years, so all this update is doing, is recognizing that Aspergers is in fact on the Autism Spectrum and not a seperate disorder altogether. It will likely turn out to be true that this will mean more funding for Asperger's children and more recognition for those on the spectrum. 


  • divam...
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    divamomtjcj

    December 3, 2012 at 10:28 PM
    whew thanx
  • power...
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    powertothekids

    December 3, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    this worries me I have have aspergers


  • javak...
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    javakitty2011

    December 4, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Jessy is correct, it's not to worry but will be a welcome change for many

     

     

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  • Melis...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Melissa Miller

    December 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM
    My son was misdiagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 5. With the help of his school's special education and their referral to local doctors we were able to get him diagnosed properly with a chromosome disorder. Ever since he was diagnosed our doctor always told us Aspergers was in the Autism Spectrum, so I don't see many changes going on as far as that except the name. Having a specific name like Aspergers does seem to be a bit better because there are so many different types of Autism and to different degrees that it effects each child. Hopefully this is for the better.
  • Carla...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Carla Hopkins Eddy

    December 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    This is actually a great thing, it will not be separate but included in the Autism Spectrum which is being added to the "bible". My son has "high functioning" autism, not aspergers, still confuses me a bit, but if the funding will be more available for services I am very happy. There are no good schools for kids with Autism in my state, at least non that I know of, the only one is in Penn. and I don't want to move. We need more specialized schools for these children not just resources, they learn in a completely different way.


  • lilol...
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    lilolme11

    December 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    This is better because kids range and might not have all the "specifications" to be termed as Aspergers. My oldest does have Autism and a hearing loss. Not all kids with hearing aides use sign lanuage. The blanket term of ASD is better for him because he will grow up realizing that his friend could have ASD as well, but have different triggers.


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