Monday, February 6, 2012

Viewpoint: Revised Autism Definition Is Too Important to Rush Into Print

When is a person just a little different, and when is his peculiarity a symptom of a disabling disorder?
An expert panel has taken a new crack at that question, proposing a redefinition of autism and related conditions for the manual used by U.S. mental health professionals. The plan has aroused fears that it may strip many people of a diagnosis and thus the insurance and government benefits that can go with it.
So far, it's not certain whether this would be the result. But until the consequences are known, it's premature for the American Psychiatric Association to change the autism diagnosis in the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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