Will 2013 be the end of Autism as we know it?

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What do you guys think about these proposed (view them below) changes? Both PDD-NOS and Aspergers are currently on the spectrum. In May of 2013 when the DSM V is released that could all change. PDD-NOS and Aspergers would no longer be considered Autism. So then your currently Autistic child with Aspergers would no longer be Autistic…at least as I understand it. How do you feel about this? What does this mean for all the kids currently diagnosed and receiving services under the Autism diagnosis? What about those on SSI, like Gavin? The symptoms will remain but the label may change.  If this happens, Autism as we know it currently, will change. The question remains, will these changes be for the better?  I’m very interested in hear what you all have to say. Please vote in the Poll and voice your concerns in the comments.
[polldaddy poll=5214812]

Below (in red) are the new revisions proposed for the DSM V: per The American Psychiatric Association and the ones in black are the current revision on the DSM IV.


Autism Spectrum Disorder: Proposed for DSM V

Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:

A.    Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:

1.     Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,

2.     Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.

3.     Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and  in making friends  to an apparent absence of interest in people

B.    Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of  the following:

1.     Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases). 

2.     Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).

3.     Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4.     Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

C.    Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)

D.      Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.

Autistic Disorder per the current DSM IV

A. A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):

(1)  qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(a)  marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

(b)  failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

(c)  a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)

(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

(2)  qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

(a)  delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)

(b)  in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others

(c)  stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language

(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level

(3)  restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(a)  encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

(b)  apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

(c)  stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole body movements)

(d) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.

C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.


Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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I have a son with LF autism and daughter with HF Aspergers…while it is frustrating that HF get when LF don't, she has alot of autistic traits which my son does not, alot of the solutions are the same so they both have an AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER… my son is finally getting assistance in many areas and my daughter does not recieve anyof the help she deserves now how bad will it get if it changes.


hi Rob, the way I understand it is that they’re doing away with the separate pdd and Asperger’s labels so every child with an autism spectrum disorder will simply be diagnosed with just that. ‘early childhood’ is a very broad term for criteria C, you would have to wonder how that would affect kids who regress.


Now that makes much more sense to me. I totally agree about the regression because we dealt with and in many ways are still dealing with regression in Gavin. Thanks Julia.


When you look at the new criteria, they're a lot more specific and take in a wider range of behaviours so it should pick up the higher functioning kids as well. I don't envy the person trying to define autism to fit every child! If they define 'early childhood' up to 5 years or so, that should cover children who regress…Gavin's diagnosis is Asperger's not Childhood Disintegrative Disorder isn't it?


Yeah. Gavin is dx as Aspergers but he floats on the spectrum… Although we have been wondering about CDD.

Dee Brake

ok, im sorta lost… but. my son is receiving "pre-diagnosis" intervention and has been on a huge wait list for the screening for a long time. Since early development, it was said he has a "non specific sensory disorder" (NSSD) but no other explanation. they assumed he would be found somewhere on the spectrum after screening, we will finally go for our screening next month, just in time before he starts kindergarten. i really dont care WHAT they call it. i dont care if it is called AUTISM or if it is called a NEW NAME. as long as we know it is something that he will not be neglected and left at a stand still. he will be in a regular school environment and i dont want him left with NO attention so that he just disappears.
no matter WHAT is is called, whether AUTISM or OTHER…. as long as there is health care and subsidy and assistance and intervention.
I really hate the idea of a label saying "Hi, I am Bob and I have autism" but without some sort of label, Bob is forgotten. as long as there are steps taken so our children dont lose out, i really dont care.


Unfortunately, in this case labels do matter as much as I HATE to say that. For kids yet undiagnosed it's not as big a deal. For those that are receiving services based on the current diagnosis of Autism or say receiving the Autism scholarship for scholarship for example may be affected. If a child has Aspergers and is benefiting from the Autism Scholarship and the DMS V comes around and removes Aspergers from the Autism Spectrum, what happens to that child's benefits? Technically they are no longer Autistic, according to the proposed changes. Unless what Julia said below is true and they are just removing the additional labels and everyone is just Autistic. This does make me a bit nervous…….

Thanks again Dee

christine zorn

"not accounted for by general developmental delays"….how is that determined????
My recent post Detroit Lakes, MN Walk Now for Autism Speaks


Very good question.