While the New York Times, the CBC and other mainstream media giants debate the DSM5's potential exclusion of high functioning autistic persons from autism diagnosis barely a whisper is heard about the express exclusion of autism's vast majority of intellectually disabled. The exclusion of the intellectually disabled from the DSM5's New Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a potential effect, it is the express and intended effect of the language of mandatory criterion "A" as recently confessed by Dr. Catherine Lord.
"Autism Spectrum Disorder
Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:"
Dr. Lord made it clear in her interview with the NYT that the APA's primary means of addressing the autism epidemic wasn't by removing high functioning autism from the DSM5 for that matter by conducting research into the environmental causes of autism. The APA will challenge the autism epidemic by redefining autism's vast majority of intellectually disabled out of the New Autism Spectrum Disorder:
"Catherine Lord, the director of the Institute for Brain Development at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and a member of the committee overseeing the [DSM-5 autism] revisions, said that the goal was to ensure that autism was not used as a “fallback diagnosis” for children whose primary trait might be, for instance, an intellectual disability or aggression." [Bracketed terms added for context - HLD]
Exclusion Criteria - Not Accounted For By General Developmental Delays
Dr. Lord's confession is confirmed by the words "not accounted for by general developmental delays. The "not accounted for by" is recognized as an exclusion criteria formula used in the current DSM-IV. It is not controversial or contentious (particularly given Dr. Lord's confession) to read those words, as used in the DSM-5, as excluding autism diagnoses in cases involving intellectual disability or as it is also known in the DSM-5: A00, Intellectual Developmental Disorder.
The mainstream media, led by the NYT, is obsessed with the very high functioning persons at the barely autistic end of the current autism spectrum. Autism researchers also focus on this point. Very few display any interest in those most severely affected by autism. Instead of addressing the many serious and harmful effects confronting those on the autism spectrum who are intellectually disabled the APA simply redefines autism ... and defines away the most serious problems currently associated with autism as illustrated in this article on wsiltv.com :
"Working with young autistic children is key to helping them become more functional in society.
"They have difficulties interacting with people with their social communication," explains Kirsten Schaper, the Autism Center Clinic Director in Carbondale.
The Autism Center at Southern Illinois University works with about 16 autistic kids a semester, far less than the number of people that come seeking treatment.
"I'd say 90 percent of the referrals to the center do not have autism," says Schaper.
Schaper says mis-diagnosis of autism is rampant in the U.S., partly because the criteria to diagnose the disorder are vague and subjective.
"We do have a lot of referrals for kids for challenging behaviors, tantruming, head-banging, aggression, self-injury, but these are not characteristics of autism spectrum disorder," Schaper explains.
Now a group of autism experts are tightening the criteria for identifying the disorder by stating specific characteristics to look for. Some parents fear their child, who has mild symptoms that were diagnosed as autism, will no longer get treatment under the new rules. But Schaper says the new criteria should, actually, better help those kids.
"Kids who have maybe an intellectual disability, or a language disorder, or maybe a behavior disorder, rather than autism, these kids will not be identified as having autism, and hopefully get the correct diagnosis, and therefore the correct treatment for whatever disorder they're having." [Bold Emphasis Added - HLD]
Hopefully get the correct correct diagnosis, and therefore the correct treatment for whatever disorder they're having? NONSENSE. The APA is changing the rules so psychiatrists, psychologists and other health care professionals can ignore the most serious cases of autism and dump autism's vast majority in the invisible category ... now to be known as Intellectual Developmental Disorder. In the US where more and more states are requiring insurers to provide coverage for autism the financial hit they experience will now be minimal ... a permanent gift from the American Psychiatric Association.
Frankly, as a father of a 16 year old son with autistic disorder and profound developmental delays, my trust in the psychiatry profession is declining rapidly with each passing day. Life will be easier for the members of this profession who will now address the autism challenge by ignoring the most difficult cases. For autism's vast majority of intellectually disabled though, they will now be even more invisible, more forgotten, more ignored as they are dumped in the Intellectual Disabled Development bin. Life for autism's vast majority is about to get much, much harder in the era of the DSM-5's New Autism Spectrum Disorder.