Even though this news was released at the beginning of the month, the impact of the news is still being felt across the entire spectrum. What does this mean?
- Anyone currently diagnosed with Asperger’s, will be grandfathered into the diagnosis known as “Autism Spectrum Disorder”.
- Anyone currently waiting for an appointment, or going through testing, will most likely be diagnosed under the DSM-IV. The fifth edition is slated to be released in May of 2013 (five months away).
- Anyone already diagnosed will not need a new diagnosis, unless their clinician or counselor feels some need to re-evaluate you.
- While people with Asperger’s will be integrated into the larger umbrella of ‘the spectrum’, your treatment should not change. As you know, your treatment is decided at the time of intake and is adjusted as your needs require. Be sure that you communicate your questions and concerns with your counselor – they are there to help you understand what is happening.
Aside of other projects on my plate, my other reason for not posting any sooner, was because I wanted to get a better grip of why this change occurred and try to type this with a more balanced approach.
Since reading about the changes, I have come to understand some positives to this:
- You’ll notice a ‘legislation’ page. On that page, rests the bill for each state that spells out the requirement for states to cover autism-related treatments, diagnosis, and therapies. With the consolidation of Asperger’s into “ASD”, there is no longer any question with regard to what is covered or how much is covered. Asperger’s was always part of the autism spectrum, albeit under its own label.
- One of the biggest problems discovered by the APA and other clinicians that helped collaborate on this change, was ‘name recognition’. If you told someone “I have Asperger’s Syndrome”, they would most likely give you looks of confusion; conversely, if you told them that you have “a milder form of Autism”, they might better understand what you mean.
- It is my speculation that services for adults (especially in the US) will become more available because the training will become more streamlined. Academically, the students will learn about autism on the overall – understanding that there’s a severe end (possible non-verbal and non-responsive to most stimuli), and a milder end (Asperger’s).
- The umbrella nature of ASD, may also help design treatment plans for people to more effectively manage their ASD. As support groups become more numerous and widely available, you’ll have the privilege of meeting others on the same spectrum, but to varying degrees.
There were negative points that came to me when I first heard the news, but since the decision is final and the printing of the manual has most likely commenced, I don’t see them changing their mind – rendering any negatives to be moot.
Ultimately, the treatment and therapies that you receive are all dependent on the plan agreed to by you and your clinician, which is why I strongly recommend having a solid dialogue with yours, to ensure that you will still get the same services that you are currently getting.