Proposed Changes to the DSM

Do you  know the difference between Aspergers Syndrome and Autism?  Does it matter?

Earlier this month The New York Times ran an article by Simon Baron-Cohen, about the plans underfoot at the American Psychiatric Association to remove Aspergers as a separate diagnosis from the bible - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM.  The fifth version is scheduled to appear in 2012.  The committee is arguing that there is not enough to distinguish between aspergers and autism, and they should both be reclassified as 'autism spectrum disorder'.

Baron-Cohen, as Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, argues that sciencific research has not yet had enough time to evaluate the genetic causes and differences between classic autism, and aspergers syndrome.  The two diagnosis are currently separated only by an average to high intelligence and normal onset of language for AS, however there is much genetic research currently underway, and more time is needed to test current theories.

AS was only added to the DSM-IV in 1994, and the last decade has seen an explosion in diagnoses of Aspergers Syndrome. What effect will it have on our community if Aspergers is removed from the new version, the DSV-V? 

If you want to follow the debate, or add your voice to it, see the initial NYT article, A Powerful Identity, a Vanishing Diagnosis,  and watch this space!