Let’s Talk! about changing the definition of autism

January 24, 2012 by cpehrson

picture of a face focusing on the lips

Rates of autism and related disorders like Asperger syndrome have increased dramatically since the early 1980s. Many researchers suspect that these numbers are rising because of vagueness in the current criteria, which are now under review by an expert panel.

Researchers at Yale University found recently that putting into place the proposed changes in the definition of autism could exclude about three-quarters (up to a million) of those now diagnosed with milder forms of autism called Asperger syndrome.  This could potentially reduce their access to the health, educational, and social services they need.

The proposed revision to the American Psychiatric Association’s definition would take effect in 2013, if approved.

What do you think about these proposed changes?

That is our latest Let’s Talk! topic today.  Tell us what you think about the following questions:

What are the benefits of having a narrower definition for autism?

Do you think having a narrower definition of autism would exclude many from receiving services they need and prevent them from reaching their potential?

Do you think having a narrower definition could permit more specific patient care and treatment to those who need it most?

If your life or your child’s may change if autism is redefined, how are you getting your family ready?

Do you have any advice for families who may face these changes?

The Let’s Talk! blog gives readers a chance to let us know how you feel about the issues and concerns that affect the lives of people with disabilities and their families and to hear what others think.

Please let us know of other topics that you would like to talk about.

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