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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


At  The Chicago Tribune, Wendy Donahue writes:
The previous edition of the DSM included three distinct subgroups under the broad definition of ASD: autistic disorder (AD), Asperger's disorder and pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

The latest edition of the manual eliminates those subgroups. It adds a new subcategory called social communication disorder (SCD) to diagnose people who have verbal and nonverbal communication impairments but lack other attributes associated with autism.

Some people diagnosed with PDD-NOS under the old manual would be identified as people with SCD under the new manual.

Some states are "grandfathering in" those diagnosed under the old criteria so they don't lose insurance coverage, said Genevieve Thornton, a clinical psychologist and owner of SociAbility in Northbrook, Ill., which offers programs and therapy for children and adults with ASD, ADHD and related conditions.
In recent years, many states have mandated that insurance companies cover applied behavior analysis, delivered by a board-certified behavior analyst, for people diagnosed with an ASD, said Dr. Jeff Skowron, a licensed psychologist and clinical director for Autism Intervention Specialists in Worcester, Mass.

As insurance companies adapt to the diagnostic changes, he said, some plans may not cover services for the new social communication disorder. That could lead to inappropriate diagnoses to enable the person to obtain treatment.