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US Autism & Asperger Association
August 6, 2012

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

Postponing the Proposed Changes in DSM 5 for Autistic Spectrum Disorder Until New Scientific Evidence Adequately Supports Them

by Dr. Edward R. Ritvo, Professor Emeritus, UCLA School of Medicine
J Autism Dev Disord
DOI 10.1007/s10803-012-1613-x

Submitted to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

"There is no scientific rational for a change at this time. The fact that DSM 5 is scheduled to be published next year does not, in and of itself, necessitate a change."

Dear Editor,

We write to express the following concerns about the proposed DSM 5 criteria for ASD and the inclusion of a new disorder (Social Communication Disorder).

First, it is crucial to note that the proposed changes for the diagnosis of ASD are not based on new empirical evidence. There is no scientific rational for a change at this time. The fact that DSM 5 is scheduled to be published next year does not, in and of itself, necessitate a change.

Second, it is crucial to note that the proposed changes may cause harm in many areas of clinical practice and research.

"The other major area of concern we have is with the DSM 5 proposal to add a new diagnostic category, Social Communication Disorder (SCD). As proposed, this disorder has vague criteria, has never been field tested, and has never been compared in studies to ASD."


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Children given insight into another world

by Julia Medew

childWHILE most boys are playing football during lunch time, Robert tends to walk around the perimeter of his school yard thinking about one of his favourite things.

The electronics fanatic also wears a beanie a lot, so he can pull it down around his eyes and ears to block out light and noise when it bothers him.

"They would move away from him, not hold his hand in line and tease him. He would come home saying that he was called a 'freak' or an 'idiot'.''

Robert, 9, has Asperger's syndrome - a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum that affects how his brain processes information. The condition means he lacks some social skills and finds it hard to read people's facial expressions. He also has a heightened sense of sight and sound and focuses on particular things obsessively.


Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2012

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Students design mobile autism clinic

by AARON STRAUSS in The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

mobile clinicThe A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design hosted an exhibition and judging event Aug. 1 for 13 students who created interior and exterior designs for a custom-made van that the institute will purchase for use as a mobile clinic.

"The interior and exterior of their design featured an aquatic color scheme, which McMenamin explained was inspired by studies that have shown the calming effects of aquatic therapy on children with autism.''

The project was the sole focus of a special topics course developed by the Department of Architecture and Interior Design in partnership with the institute.

Dee Nicholas, instructor of the course, said that Craig Newschaffer and Lindsay Lawer, respectively the director and senior manager of the institute, approached the department with the idea of having students design the van. Nicholas said she was very pleased with the quality of the final products.


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To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Facing the Future - USAAA 2012 Conference

The US Autism & Asperger Association 7th Annual World Conference & Expo headquarters are at the Crowne Plaza International Airport Hotel and Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, September 6-9, 2012. This is the first time USAAA has returned to the Denver area since the 2nd annual conference in 2007 where over 800 people attended. Hotel Reservations.

conference crowd

The USAAA Conference Experience is for parents, caregivers, family members, healthcare practitioners, self-advocates, students, educators, friends and anyone who wants to learn more about Autism, Asperger's, and PDD-NOS Research, Treatment Modalities, Resources, and Avenues for Advocacy.

View the entire schedule

Pre-registration is highly recommended to ensure your space.



don't miss The Doctors and Researchers Q&A Panel Discussion on Friday, September 7. The panelists presenting in this workshop review cutting edge interventions and treatments as well as the latest research and discuss the most frequently asked questions associated with medicine, interventions, and research. The discussion will include the entire lifespan of the individual and transitioning into adulthood. And much more.

View the entire schedule


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In this issue:

Postponing the Proposed Changes in DSM 5

Children given insight into another world

Students design mobile autism clinic

REGISTER NOW - USAAA 2012 Conference September 6-9

 Autism 101

USAAA Conference

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Upcoming Conference


"The greatest gift we received yet was attending the four-day USAAA conference last year. There I met my heroes and found mentors that gave me hope and expanded my paradigm."
- Sara McCarter, Mom to Magnus "the great"

"I have been attending medical conferences for over twenty-five years. My grandson is affected by autism, so I wanted to learn more about autism spectrum disorders as well as claim continuing medical education credits for my practice. The USAAA conference is the most organized and thorough conference I have ever attended, including all of the medical conferences I attended in the past."

- Dr. Robert B., physician who attended first USAAA conference


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