Diagnostic Criteria Changes: What Your Family Needs To Know

Coming up in May 2013, proposed changes to the DSM diagnostic criteria will greatly affected the lives of families living with autism.  Over the last week, the media has picked up with this story in a big way.

In the 12 years history of TACA I have never heard of a family excited about an autism diagnosis and the “abundant” services available to their child.  This is an argument some in the media are providing for the proposed diagnostic changes (1). Some articles are describing the problem and concerns in a good way for families that had little help before may have little to no help after May 2013 (2).

As with every topic important to our children, TACA wants families to become educated on any issue that will greatly determine if your child qualifies for support or doesn’t.  In December we published an article addressing this important issue and how it may impact families. To get up to date, please read:  http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/autism-vs-aspergers-syndrome-diagnosis/

What we do know in the 12 year history of TACA,

  • Families are often fighting a very uphill battle for the little support they receive. Nothing comes easy.
  • Over the past four years due to economic issues, services available to families have drastically been cut from state budgets.
  • Often the front line providers to families living with a child affected by autism are health insurance companies and school districts. Like families, these resources are overwhelmed with the increase in autism and the needs of children living with autism.
  • We agree the diagnostic criteria needs to have a better description about the individual and what is needed to help them make meaningful progress to live their lives to the fullest potential. We cannot just ignore an individual in need because “they are not autistic enough”.  This is a recipe for disaster.
  • We want to CDC to take the opportunity and update the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) numbers as soon as possible. Taking away the numbers of those affected through diagnostic changes does not make the issue go away. Autism is still very much a crisis affecting 1 in every 91 children (3). Our families deserve an update to this important statistic.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recently opened for more comments from any concerned parties. The best route to share your views and the proposed changes are via email at dsm5@psych.org. You can read updates and obtain more information from their website at www.dsm5.org.

All of us at TACA realize this will affect the hundreds of thousands of families living with autism. We will be watching this issue closely and sharing updates often with our members. Your first and most important step today is: Get educated whether or not you have a child with autism. This issue is critical and will affect every household – not just those living with autism.



1)       http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/dsm5-youre-still-autistic-youre-just-weird-you-were-not-sure-about-call-us-tomorrow.html

2)      http://ideas.time.com/2012/01/20/the-one-question-we-should-be-asking-about-the-new-autism-definition/?xid=gonewsedit

3)       http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/latest-autism-statistics-2/

10 thoughts on “Diagnostic Criteria Changes: What Your Family Needs To Know

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  1. This is a big deal! I hope that parents will get involved and voice their concerns because the proposed changes are a big win for school districts and insurance companies and a HUGE loss to a subset of those with ASD that will lose services. The CDC will certainly be happy to reduce the numbers and the make the epidemic go away too. How this is good for our children I do not see.

  2. TACA thank you for fighting for all the children and families living with Autism in a time when many are looking the other way.

  3. What really annoys me is that when I rang the APA I was told to leave a message via email on the main website. Once there it insructed me not to leave a message in the general mailbox for my concerns or comments regarding the new definitions but to register and leave a comment in the box. I did this and when I got to the place the comment boxt was supposed to be – there wasn’t a comment box for me to leave my concerns. I have sent an email to the two ones you listed but those might be easy to delete. I have cc: NBC news and I feel we need the old fashioned snail mail which would be hard to ignore. I bet not one single parent is on that panel and I am not sure what makes this group of people feel they are experts in Autism but base data on an outdated invalid small population based trial done in 1993 as any evidence toward progress. We have come too far a group of families affected by Autism to have anyone decide what grouping our children should be in that could and will deny FAPE, medical coverage and many therapies we rely on for the hope of independent living.

  4. Hi There Tacanowblog,
    Thanks for the info, my query is what is the differance relating to the two eating problems? not diagnostic standards but the mindset of someone battling with either or.
    I know a large amount about bulimia for the reason that I struggle with it myself, but I feel concerned that my ED is switching from bulimia to possibly ed-now or anorexia.
    I never binge ever again, but I do purge what I consume, I have dropped a great deal of excess fat(even now a healthy and balanced BMI, on the reduced stop) and my ideas have modified all over foodstuff. I use to definitely be obsessed with loosing but could not, I nonetheless am, but now I panic fat generate.
    Keep up the posts!

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