As ubiquitous as Asperger’s syndrome has become, the label soon may go by the wayside.
Experts working on the latest version of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, expected in 2012, are leaning toward eliminating Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. The reason: they say these diagnoses are too vague. Instead, many experts prefer folding the diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the upcoming DSM-V.
But the suggestion is bringing heated debate. Even though Asperger’s only gained DSM recognition in 1994, it is now a widely recognized diagnosis both in popular culture and among health care and educational providers.
What’s more, some who have the disorder are deeply attached to the Asperger’s name as a distinct subset of the vast autism spectrum. And diagnosticians argue that it could be difficult to get people with mild needs to accept a diagnosis that groups them with very low functioning individuals.
Those arguing for a single term say it will simplify the system for everyone since there are not clear boundaries between the various terms. Furthermore, there is also the issue of obtaining services since some states do not currently grant services to people with Asperger’s syndrome in the same way they do those with autism.
A final proposal on autism for the DSM-V is expected from the American Psychiatric Association in January at which point the public will have an opportunity to comment, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.