Worried about how the New Definition of Autism and ASD Will Affect your Therapy Practice?


Are parents asking you about how this new definition will affect their child’s therapy?

As you know, revisions in the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, set for publication spring 2013 has changed the definition of autism and will categorize Aspergers, PDD-NOS and Autism into one lump category of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). 

One pro of this revised definition is that there will be fewer misdiagnosed patients. “Better diagnosis can help give better numbers on those affected, causes, potential diagnosis and effectiveness in interventions” according to the Center for Autism. 

One major concern is that some who may need occupational therapy, may not get the health care coverage needed to afford it. Many therapists believe that there will be a rise in high functioning children with autism that will become ineligible for health insurance coverage for their therapy treatments. 

Another worry is that these patients that may be high functioning ASD cases will not be referred to therapists because they don’t fit the new definition. 

At this point there is speculation as to what the new definition will include. The New York Times posted an article that showed the proposed Autism definition’s changes this past January. However we will not know for sure until the new version is released to the public next spring. 

As a therapist what do you think of the new definition of Autism? Is your center doing anything to promote a grass roots effort to challenge the definition and educate the public?

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