Selasa, 28 Februari 2012

Will new definition of Autism exclude people in need from services?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed new diagnostic criteria for for autism. The new criteria may be include in the 5th edition  of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) due to be published in 2013. The DSM is used worldwide by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders.

The new definition should incorporate under the label of Autism Spectrum Disorder previously separate diagnoses, including autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

Last week, the New York Times on front page story reported Dr. Fred R. Volkmar's claim that DSM 5 changes would dramatically reduce rates of diagnosis of autism and would ultimately result in reduced school and health services.

The claim produced an uproar in the autism community and instigated a petition against DSM 5.

The experts working on the manual’s new definition strongly disagre with Dr Volkmar's conclusions and in a response to his claims published on the APA website stated that "...field testing has not indicated that there will be any change in the number of patients receiving care for autism spectrum disorders in treatment centres -- just more accurate diagnoses that can lead to more focused treatment".

Descriptive diagnosis are not natural but social entities, they are valuable only if lead to better research and treatment ultimately improving the quality of services. Further studies are needed to ensure that these diagnostic changes may not deny services to whom in need providing at the same time reliable categories to the clinical research.