The DSM-V Revisions on Autism Diagnoses and What It Means for You

22 Jan

Please read about it over at I Can Have Autism too and sign the online petition she links to…

The deal is this…for some reason or another autism will be redefined in the DSM-V. Read that again. It makes absolutely no sense. DSM-V is written by psychiatrists for the psychiatric community about MENTAL ILLNESS. Autism is not a mental illness. It is a NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER. So in no way should the DSM-V be doing ANYTHING with autism. Yes, some individuals with autism DO have psychological and psychiatric issues. However, these are connected with autism, not autism itself.

So, you have a child who has PDD-NOS or Aspergers or an adult in your life with one of these diagnoses, what happens…well, basically, their conditions no longer exist. So, what will happen? Well, for one, your child could be moved completely out of special education and completely denied services. After all, they have a condition which will,at that time, no longer exist. And insurance companies can now deny coverage if either diagnosis is active on a chart. This will allow insurance companies in the 23 states (and counting) that have autism insurance coverage laws to legally deny coverage of services.

This will create a massive strain on our educational system for school age children. It will force some children who are in special education classes to be fully mainstreamed with zero support services. It will also mean no more IEPs for these children, so the accommodations for testing, note-taking, and many other things will be nil. We will see children who were once thriving, flounder.

And it will create complete chaos in the lives of many adults. We have the potential to see many who count on assistance to help them get jobs and homes be turned away. Some who receive disability or Medicaid may lose all access to healthcare. Keep in mind that individuals with HFA and Aspergers do often experience depression and other psychological disorders and may end up caught in a whole bunch of unexpected insurance and/or government red tape nightmares.

As Jenn posted at I Can Has Autism…yes, there is the potential that currently children are misdiagnosed on the spectrum. But the elimination of legitimate diagnoses by a body that treats mental disorders is NOT the answer to that issue.

We are in the process of having The Princess re-evaluated as her current diagnosis is PDD-NOS, the most commonly used diagnoses in young children before interventions. There is no doubt, she will fall under the diagnosis of full autism, however, in the past the educational system has pushed back at some parents requesting evaluation before third grade when it is required as PDD-NOS cannot be on an IEP after that time. Well, parents, if your child still has the diagnosis, time to push back now more than ever. Show up to those IEP meetings with advocates. The more, the merrier. Now is not the time to say, we can put this off, it’s only a formality, these changes are very real and very close. Now is the time to be as proactive as possible.

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