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US Autism & Asperger Association
February 9, 2012

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.


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Redefining Autism - Do not remove Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Sub-Types from DSM

If you want to make a change, voice your opinion, sign these petitions and call the APA 1-888-357-7924.

Melissa Higgins, a mother who started a petition to address the proposed changes to the DSM-5, says, "A new proposal seeks to eliminate diagnoses of Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder [NOS], and other sub-types of Autism Spectrum Disorders by removing the titles and lumping all of these under the umbrella of a general Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)."

harvardDr. Martha Herbert, a pediatric neurologist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and author of the forthcoming "The Autism Revolution", and who will be a keynote speaker at the USAAA 2012 World Conference and Expo, explains her position on the proposed DSM-5 changes: "Narrowing the definition of autism is a bad idea and narrows the opportunities to make significant inroads in helping children affected by this condition, their families and our nation." Learn more.

yaleDr. Fred Volkmar, a renowned autism expert, the director of the Yale Child Study Center, and A Yale School of Medicine researcher, stated that with the proposed DSM-5 changes, forty-five percent of individuals with an autism diagnosis today would retain that diagnosis.

"Volkmar's study indicates it might have a much more widespread effect on those with Asperger's or P.D.D.-N.O.S., with a majority losing their diagnosis according to his analysis."

As reported by Abby Ohlheiser in Slate, "Dr. Fred R. Volkmar resigned from the [APA] panel of experts [as] he and the panelists seem to strongly disagree on the purpose and effect of redefining autism. Volkmar's study indicates it might have a much more widespread effect on those with Asperger's or P.D.D.-N.O.S., with a majority losing their diagnosis according to his analysis. Additionally, if he's correct, about a quarter of those currently diagnosed with autism proper would also not meet the criteria."

There are at least six petitions on change.org. If you want to make a change, voice your opinion and sign these petitions:

Do not remove Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Sub-Types from DSM

American Psychiatric Association: DSM-5 Task Force and Work Group: Improve DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism

DSM-5 Committee: Don't Reduce the Criteria for an Autism Spectrum Condition in the DSM-5

American Psychiatric Association: Maintain the current definition of Autism

DSM-V Task Force: Don't bunch autism, Asperger's, & PDD-NOS into one category in the DSM-V.

Stop the Change In Definition of Autism for Those On The Spectrum!!


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