A number of posts have dealt with upcoming changes in DSM-5. Amanda Gray writes at The South Bend Tribune:
Those proposed changes could have large ramifications for local families, said Joshua Diehl, the University of Notre Dame psychology professor who eventually told Pierce with certainty that Wesley had autism.
"We've seen it coming since a couple of years back," Diehl said of the changes. "We began to see it as more research came out about the autism spectrum."
Some experts believe up to 40 percent of those currently considered autistic will be affected and might lose their diagnoses, which could affect insurance coverage and other services, according to The Associated Press.
Diehl said many of those diagnosed with specific types of autism would lose specialized services and environments they depend on.
"A lot of people embraced the Asperger's diagnosis culture," Diehl said. "They came out of it as bigger than the diagnosis itself. Autism carries a little more of a stigma with it -- Asperger's is a less stigmatizing diagnosis."
Another potential problem with the proposed changes is the damage they could do to the reputation of the psychology field as a whole, according to Diehl.
"In some ways, there is a danger to undermining the psychology profession," he said. "A lot of families have been struggling for years to find a diagnosis."
Understandably, the definitions needed to be upgraded, according to Diehl.
"The idea is that we created the autism spectrum, and we have a catch-all category (PDD-NOS) that wasn't exactly autism," he said. "Too many people were put in there -- it sort of became autism.