New Way of Assessing Autism Could Be Bad News for Your Kid

autism awarenessAs if parents of autistic children don't have enough to deal with already, it sounds like the new autism diagnostic criteria could end up making things even more challenging. Because the new criteria combines all of the disorders on the autism spectrum under one diagnosis (that means no more Asperger's Syndrome, for example), doctors will be forced to make less specific diagnoses. Unfortunately, as a result, many of the kids who receive treatment now will no longer qualify -- at least not on paper. And we all know what insurance companies like to do with that kind of paper: Slap a big red "DENIED" stamp at the top.

The very idea that this could happen is absolutely heartbreaking. Consider the families whose lives are changed for the better on a daily basis by the treatment their insurance companies now cover -- what are they supposed to do? Pretend everything is okay?

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The problem, according to Dr. Gil Tippy, isn't so much that the actual number of kids diagnosed with autism will drop substantially, but that the new criteria, which rates based on "severity" of symptoms, would make it all too easy for insurance companies to refuse "those who were given a 'lower' severity rating of mild impairment -- even though that 'mild impairment' requires intervention."

All because of greed, plain and simple. Because insurance companies are looking for ways to cut corners, those kids who require intervention will be turned away. It's cruel and heartless, and it's also just plain stupid -- isn't anybody thinking ahead? Hasn't it occurred to anyone how negatively this change will affect the very trajectory of autistic children's lives?

Are you concerned about the new autism diagnostic criteria? Will it affect your family?

 

Image via Becky Wetherington/Flickr

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