Tag Archives | diagnosis

Autism Study of the Month: Co-occurring Conditions and Change in Diagnosis in Autism Spectrum Disorders

autism magnetsCo-occurring Conditions and Change in Diagnosis in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/2/e305.abstract?sid=17b1810d-43f8-4c01-aff1-94a64941a94b


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate descriptive characteristics and co-occurring neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions in young children, children, and adolescents with a current and consistent or past but not current (PBNC) diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how such characteristics and conditions may engender a change in diagnosis of an ASD.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data of 1366 children with a parent-reported current or PBNC ASD diagnosis were obtained from the National Survey of Children’s Health 2007 data set across 3 developmental stages: young children (aged 3–5 years), children (aged 6–11 years), and adolescents (aged 12–17 years). Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine demographic characteristics and co-occurring conditions that differentiate the groups with a current ASD from groups with a PBNC ASD.

RESULTS: Results indicated the co-occurring conditions that distinguish groups currently diagnosed with an ASD from groups with a PBNC ASD diagnosis. In young children, current moderate/severe learning disability, and current moderate/severe developmental delay; in children, past speech problem, current moderate/severe anxiety, and past hearing problem; and in adolescents, current moderate/severe speech problem, current mild seizure/epilepsy, and past hearing problem.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the presence of co-occurring psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions are associated with a change in ASD diagnosis. Questions remain as to whether changes in diagnosis of an ASD are due to true etiologic differences or shifts in diagnostic determination.


They studied differing age groups of children that were previously diagnosed with autism and found that some of them no longer fit the criteria for a diagnosis.

By the way, PBNC means Past But Not Current… as in, they had the diagnosis but now they do not.

What they do not know is why. Is it because they “grew out of it” or because they’re simply able to “fake it” now as they’ve grown and learned or is it something else?

My Opinion

This is simply my opinion of the story, stop reading if you do not want opinions and are happy just having read the details of the original study itself.

Now, the big problem with studies like this is the the amount of questions is brings up but obvious lack of answers. These types of scenarios tend to leave a lot open to the imagination and the media will simply eat that right up.

Some examples:

Can some children simply ‘grow out’ of autism? One mother tells how her son’s life has been transformed

Autism: Can it be outgrown?

These articles are full of assumptions right out of the gate.. dangerous assumptions. It’s one thing to give parents false hope when it’s possible there is none but it’s another to give them license to just do nothing. You see, while this certainly doesn’t say that all children will grow out of it, it does raise the question in some people’s minds… which may lead them to just leave it up to fate… chance… God. Which ever. They can now stop trying to improve their child’s life because if it’s meant to be… they’ll just grow out of it!

For all we know, it could be that the data they used before was faulty, perhaps many of those children were wrongly diagnosed…. perhaps these doctors are much better (or worse) at recognizing autism symptoms than the doctors that previously diagnosed the children?

We just don’t know. And therefore, to throw around statements such as the one in this news piece is very presumptuous and further more, dangerous.

In my opinion, you have to remember that autism is diagnosed by doctors that observe behaviors in a person. This means that these children truly can learn how to do the things that they couldn’t before, some of those things being criteria based symptoms that define autism. In other words, maybe a child masters the repetitive behaviors, the speech problems and continue to have other struggles in their lives. This would meant that they would no longer fit the criteria for an autism diagnosis and yet, they still very clearly have autism.

Then there truly are those that are misdiagnosed to begin with. There are possible reasons… for example, out growing may very well be a possible reason. But there are also other very likely possible reasons.


“Autism Study of the Month”
The purpose of the Autism Study of the Month series is to provide unpolluted (by the media) information about the studies released at least once a month in the study of possible Autism causes or risks.
You will find links to the actual studies, get to read the “abstract” of the study and, when possible, get the PR release from the source.
When it comes to science, let’s leave the media out of it.

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Low Functioning Autism vs High Functioning Autism in 2012

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the terminology simply because of how vague it really is… what exactly is “low functioning” or “high functioning”? Is it to be measured the same as the wattage of a light bulb or the complex calculable abilities of a computer?

For many people, as it pertains to Autism, it can simply be the difference between speaking and not speaking.. for others it can be a difference in perceived IQ levels.

Personally, I’ve always thought of the terms as indicators as to the level of one’s ability to be independent. Can they shelter, feed and provide for themself? Can they maintain a job? Can they “function” in the world on their own?

Whether or not that means using a device to speak for them, high or low IQ levels… what ever. It doesn’t matter… so long as they can live independently, they are “high functioning”. If they can not, they are “low functioning”. I don’t maintain that this is the correct way to think of these terms but simply that it’s how I think of them when I hear them or use them myself.

The reality is though that whether or not you agree with this form of terminology or not, you’re going to have to get used it. As of 2012, the discussion is no longer what it means or how to use it but whether you are using it pre DSM-5 or post DSM-5.

dsm-5Pre DSM-5

Up until the DSM-5, the Autism Spectrum Disorder has always been a list of common disorders such as Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS and Aspergers Syndrome, which was added in the DSM-IV (IV is the roman numeral for 4).

That means that there really is no low or high level… there’s simply a different disorder to fall into. If you could live independently but struggled socially, you had Aspergers. If you had more severe impairments which left you dependent on others for life, you had classic Autistic Disorder. Others that fell somewhere in the middle would often be PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified)

That’s a very general description, it’s far more complicated than that but does give you a good idea.

This is where “low functioning” and “high functioning” terms often become a point of contention among experts, autistics, parents and everyone else.

As we progress further and further, we have become increasingly aware that many people that are unable to speak are actually able to communicate quite well once given the means too.. such as an iPad or “voice box” which can modulate text into speech.

We’ve also come to discover that just because an autistic may score low on a conventional IQ test, they may actually still be very smart. In fact, they could be brilliant. It’s just that the IQ test as well as the communication before, during and after was not done in a manner that was understood by the individual.

So labeling a person as “low functioning” because they could not speak or scored low on an IQ test was very much an inaccurate and inappropriate use of the term.

Post DSM-5

The DSM-5 will be wiping out many of the individual disorders within the spectrum and replacing them with levels… 3 levels. These 3 levels will essentially make up exactly what we will come to know as “low functioning” and “high functioning” and then.. one level somewhere in the middle.

They break down like this:

  1. ‘Requiring support’
  2. ‘Requiring substantial support’
  3. ‘Requiring very substantial support’

If you don’t believe me, you can look it up here: http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94#

While this will once again open the terminology into very vague misinterpretations, especially for those that have never even heard of, much less read, the DSM… it will also attempt to very much define exactly what “low” and “high” functioning is supposed to mean.

Which means that most people won’t know what these levels mean but if someone does use the terminology incorrectly, you’ll now have something to point them to.


I understand the frustration when you read or hear someone using terms like this incorrectly.. or at all really. But at this point, we’ll all have to get used to it.

It’s coming, one way or another. The only difference being that it’s a little more defined. And now there will be three instead of just two.

So the next time you see someone using these terms, check for their accuracy against the actual DSM-5 records… if you can’t stop people from using them, you might as well try to get them to use them correctly.

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The Jenny McCarthy-Autism paradox

Jenny McCarthy Autism

Perhaps I titled this article wrong… paradox should be plural.

If you’re an avid Jenny McCarthy fan and have some very strong beliefs in certain things, this may upset you but I still ask that you read with an open mind.


Wakefield releases a study stating ties between the MMR vaccine and Autism… not stating exactly that one causes the other, or that you should stop taking vaccines… but that’s the message that the public receives. The media doesn’t help much nor does Wakefield in subsequent interviews.


Thimerosal is removed from almost all vaccines in the US, except for some flu vaccines.

As a side note… Thimerosal was never in the MMR vaccine.

May 18th 2002

Jenny McCarthy’s son, Evan, is born.


Evan, 2, begins having seizures so severe that he’s repeatedly rushed to hospital emergency. – http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968100-2,00.html

Evan is diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2.

Remember, Evan was 2 in 2005 until May.


Jenny writes about her “crystal child” in Insights of an Indigo Mom: A Mother’s Awakening… in which she writes about chain smoking and cheeseburgers up until his birth at which point she changed to Hepa air filters and eating vegetarian.

I wonder why she never blamed the chain smoking and cheeseburgers… also, one would wonder why she’d write about Cystal/Indigo stories if he was diagnosed with Autism 


Jenny changes her story in May, saying that he’s not really a “crystal child”, he’s actually Autistic. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_McCarthy#Activism_and_autism_controversy

She claimed that the MMR vaccine specifically caused his Autism… and began campaigns against Thimerosal despite the fact that it never contained Thimerosal and he was born several years after Thimerosal was removed from most vaccines.

Jenny goes on a book writing spree over the next several years, publishing several books on motherhood as well as “healing Autism”.


Jenny begins her crusade against Autism, becoming a spokesperson for Generation Rescue and TACA and appearing on several radio and television programs, including Oprah. Each appearance includes endorsements for her books.

Jenny also claims that Evan has “recovered”… which isn’t the same as cured. But it doesn’t stop the media from using that word a lot in articles about her and her son.

Jenny and Jim Carrey begin a “march on Washington” to “green our vaccines”. When interviewed, Jenny claims that Evan was “undiagnosed with Autism”.
Jenny also reinforces that she is not anti-vaccine but rather for safer vaccines and spaced out schedule. An excerpt:

Don’t do more than one shot in a visit. Do you see what I’m saying? Not to not vaccinate. Space them out, ask for mercury-free. Make sure your child is not sick before you vaccinate. Your child does not have a good immune system. How is it supposed to detox the vaccine? Test your child for an immune system. Make sure they have really good glutothion. Glutothion is your body’s naturally antioxidant to detox these things.


Doctors and scientists start to question McCarthy and the diagnosis that her son received, claiming that his symptoms more closely resemble Landau-Kleffner syndrome… very similar to Autism but treatable. – source http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968100-2,00.html

Despite the possibility that he never had Autism to begin with, Jenny confirms that she’ll continue to “be the voice” for the disorder. She also begins to realize that it wasn’t really the MMR vaccine after all, stating that she just wants vaccines to be safer, rather than getting rid of them entirely.


Jenny joins the Generation Rescue board in January.

Jenny speaks out in support of Wakefield, claiming “I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son” and asking “Why have only 2 of the 36 shots our kids receive been looked at for their relationship to autism?”

One would wonder why there’s any need to check the other vaccines if she’s so certain it’s the MMR.

Jenny continues onward, claiming that “kids do recover from Autism” as her son did, with a gf/cf diet and vitamins. Previous articles went into more details of his treatments including “a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines. ”

What can we take from all of this?

Well, first, we have the fact that the blame she has shifts radically from Thimerosal (ethyl-mercury) to the MMR vaccine itself to the vaccine schedule (multiple vaccines at one time) to simply vaccines in general, asking for more research.

Secondly, she seems very conflicted about what exactly her child may actually have. First there’s crystal child/indigo mom theories, then it’s Autism and now there’s questions of Landau-Kleffner syndrome which, from what I can tell in my research, she has never actually explored.

Third, almost everything she gets involved with seems to have a heavy self promotional feel to it. Many praise her for getting into the spotlight for Autism awareness but at the same time, there are many people who believe she does it simply to get herself into the spotlight. Most notably when she recently offered to pose nude once again for Autism awareness reasons.

Finally, and this is a big one… she has become the leader of the anti-vaccine movement despite the fact that she never once said she is anti-vaccine herself…. and in fact, professed many times to wanting more research, safer schedules and “greener” vaccines.

Much like Wakefield, who had his own patent for a vaccine as partial replacement of the MMR vaccine (who would patent a vaccine if he was anti-vaccine?!?), her concerns over vaccine safety lead to hysteria and paranoia among parents who now place their children at much greater risk than they ever were before.

In my opinion

Seriously, as others have said before… stop listening to a Playboy bunny/actress for medical advice. That’s not to say that she’s not allowed to have an opinion. She is… but she’s doing the same research you are. She’s not a doctor nor a researcher.  She’s a mom just like every other mom and her opinion holds the same weight.

Also, stop putting words in her mouth that she didn’t even say. She never said she was anti-vaccine and she never told you to not vaccinate. Don’t tell me she did. Whether you hate me right now for writing all this or not, don’t assume I haven’t researched this. I have. I know she’s “pro-safety” and not “anti-vaccine.”

Lastly, and this is just my opinion… people of high influence, such as celebrities, should be very very careful about what they randomly put out there. These are our children and unless you are absolutely certain (and when it comes to vaccines, no matter what you think you know, you are NOT absolutely certain), you should not be putting fears and doubts and unproven concerns into the minds of people that could put themselves and their children at risk.

The point is, there is a chance that what you *think you know* may be wrong. There is an even bigger chance that the way people interpret what you say may be wrong.

The one clear message through this entire post, that I’d like for you to take from this is, Wakefield and McCarthy are not anti-vaccine!!!

Despite them both saying that they are for safer vaccines, they have not made it abundantly clear that they are not anti-vaccine.

Wakefield needs to stop putting out articles on studies, McCarthy needs to stop putting out articles on recovery and her own story.

What they need to do (if they insist on continuing) is write articles and do interviews that consist of nothing except them telling parents “Vaccinate your children! Do not withhold vaccinations. Vaccines save lives!” They need to explain their stance, clearly and definitively. If they are pro-safety and not anti-vaccine… then why are anti-vaccine activists praising their work?

If they have no intentions of making this clear, then they should no longer be in the media, in my opinion. Because the message they think they are sending is not the message that some parents are receiving.

This is the Jenny McCarthy paradox as I see it. On one hand, I respect her work to raise awareness. On the other hand, I despise the self promotion and her willingness to let parents continue to be anti-vaccine in her name.

Is it any wonder that people’s opinions of her are so conflicting?

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What a difference six years can make

Yesterday was Cameron’s birthday… the day he was born… 6 years ago. I originally started writing this post yesterday, to be posted on his birthday but we did so much the whole day that I never did get that chance.

Even though he’s taller than many nine year old children, he’s still and always will be my little boy.

If you have a few minutes, I’d like to give you 6 years.

Once upon a time, I think it was a Thursday…

cameron 0 days old

Cameron - 0 days old

Showing up at the hospital at 8am on the 27th, my wife was “induced” at 11am… wait, wait, wait, push, push, push… my beautiful little boy was born 14 hours later, after 1am on Thursday morning.

That whole first year was amazing… having this little baby sleeping on my chest as I lie on the couch, feeling his little fingers grab onto my finger.

It was everything that parenthood was meant to be. Even the 3 hour feeds all day and night. Friends and family would look at me with this wide smile, sarcastically asking how much sleep I was getting or how tired I was… to their disappointment, I was more than happy with how it was. I don’t even remember how much sleep I got, all I know is that I would have been happy being awake for the whole year… so that I wouldn’t miss a thing.

I loved it.

Enter the villain of our story

first birthday - cakeOn Cameron’s first birthday, my wife had this wonderful vision of a smashed up birthday cake all over the place. She had one made with 2/3 icing and only 1/3 actual cake… this makes it easier to get little fingers into and spread around.

But that didn’t happen. It turned out that we had the only little boy in the world (or so we thought at the time) that didn’t like to get dirty. My wife took his hand and buried it into the cake, which fascinated Cameron but again… it wasn’t what we had hoped for.

With the help of some off camera funny faces, we were able to get the picture that we thought would make it all… “normal.” It was what we had to do to get what we wanted. Not what he wanted.

On top of that… his entire first year was without any words, toilet training and without any more snuggling on the couch together.

His first year, he had to spend a good 20-40 minutes with me on the couch at the start of each day or else he’d be upset.

That hasn’t happened since.

The battle begins

After Cameron turned 1, he spent most of his time separating blocks by colour, lining up cars, flipping them over to spin the wheels, doing his Thai-Chi and other very unusual and repetitive behaviours.

I spent a fair portion of that year doing research and when Cameron turned 2, I asked our family doctor for an assessment.

He told me that Cameron was a bright boy, that he was likely just going to be a late talker and recommended we just wait.

We respected his opinion but insisted anyhow… 6 months later, I was in Toronto with Cameron, visiting a hospital.

Cameron in the news

Cameron in the news

During Cameron’s assessment, Cameron shocked me. Almost even worried me…. he spoke!

The doctor took out a little bottle, a little wand and filled the room with bubbles. To my complete and total surprise, Cameron said “bubbles!”

To be perfectly honest, and the reason I say it worried me, was that this.. of all times, would be when he speaks. That these people would look at me like a neurotic parent that was just wasting their time or worse, making things up. See, I had told them that Cameron can’t speak. He just proved me wrong… right in front of them.

How embarrassing! Wonderful… but embarrassing.

It turns out that I didn’t have anything to worry about because they diagnosed him with PDD-NOS, on the Autism Spectrum. One word certainly isn’t enough to fool a doctor out of a diagnosis… I know that now, I didn’t then.

Fast forward a bit

I’ve written previously about the 3 year wait lists we were put on, the $150/hour speech therapy appointments… how my wife took it upon herself to learn the treatments and therapies so she could do it at home…  I’ve even written several times about how we gave up our house, everything we had and moved pretty far in order to get Cameron into a special school where he could excel rather than regress… so I won’t repeat it.

I will, however, tell you about something amazing.

When Cameron was diagnosed, despite having said one word… they told me that it’s entirely possible he might never have “normal speech” and even if he does, it’s even more likely that he’ll never be very good at social interaction and communication.

We were told not to be too disappointed or hard on him if he just can’t grasp toilet training.

Essentially, we were told not to expect the worst but to be prepared for it. Cameron may never progress, he may progress and then regress… anything was possible.

Cameron proved them wrong. Not us, Cameron did.

Truly inspirational

Cameron iPad

Reading Cat in the Hat

I will never deny that my wife and I have done a lot to get where we are.. we’ve never given up and always tried our hardest. But the truth is that the real person responsible for where Cameron is today is Cameron.

At 6 years old, Cameron is reading Cat in the Hat books himself, he has friends, he’s doing well at school, he can ride a bike now (for the most part), he can finish video games, he speaks in complete sentences (he even says “You and I” instead of “me and you”!!)… he’s doing exceptionally well.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t still have his issues… his senses are still very sensitive, he still needs his specific diet, he still gets overwhelmed quickly and needs quiet time… you get the idea.

I try my best to support people, give them positivity and even inspire people as best I can but the honest truth is that the real inspiration is Cameron.

It’s just simply amazing to think of how well he’s doing despite all of the things I was told almost 4 years ago. He’s overcoming obstacles, he’s smashing through barriers. He’s never giving up.

I don’t just say that as a proud parent.. if you ever get to meet Cameron, you’ll see it in him.

Never Giving Up

As soon as I could have actual conversations with him… I would ask Cameron “What do you do when you fall down?” and his very simple answer was “get up”.

I asked him that at least 2 or 3 times a week, for over two years now. Half the time he answers on auto pilot (without thinking about it), the other half he is always happy to answer because I always praise him so much for being right.

He didn’t learn that from me. I learned it from him. All I ever do is remind him.

Cameron didn’t learn to ride his bike until he was 5… he started learning when he was 3. It took a long time but he never gave up. Cameron had a very hard time playing any sort of video game due to poor motor control but a year later, he could win most races at Mario Kart Wii.

Reading, writing, math, puzzles… it never mattered what it was, he would do it every day, on his own, never willing to give it up.

It was really quite easy for my wife to sit him down to learn the alphabet or numbers or how to do tasks because he was always eager to learn them and no matter how hard it was, he was always eager to keep doing it over and over.

And if there is something he can’t do, if a bad guy in a game can beat him… he gets mad. Not meltdown mad… just… mad. When that happens, there is no turning off the game, there is no doing anything else. It drives him.

No matter how inspiring people can be, no matter how much wisdom they have to share with me… no one inspires me as much as Cameron does.

My hope is that one day he’ll be able to look back on this blog and anything else I do and realize how much he has done for me. I’m so very proud of him.

Cameron - 6 Years Old

Cameron - 6 Years Old

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Is Autism a “popular fad diagnosis”?

Recently, Dr. Allen Frances made the comment that Autism was becoming “fashionable” or a “popular fad diagnosis.” Before you read further, I invite you to read his article in full to understand it in context.

Now, many people, even after reading it in context, were outraged. How dare he? Who does he think he is?

Hopefully I can help clarify some of it, at least, in terms of how I interpreted his statements. You may agree with me, you might not. That’s all ok either way. My only goal is to give you a possible new way of interpreting his meaning.

Who is Dr. Allen Frances?

First, I’d like to tell you who the man is because when I posted the link to this article in a few places, people were quite appalled and upset that this “ignorant” man would say such a thing. They questioned his qualifications and suggested he look up the word “spectrum” in the dictionary.

For those that don’t know, Dr. Frances is not just a notable doctor, he was the man in the big chair of the committee that defined the DSM-IV(4).

The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders… what you and I would call, the guidelines to diagnosing disorders such as Autism.

He was the man responsible for the introduction of Asperger’s Syndrome into the Autism spectrum.

So yes. He’s qualified.

Fad Diagnosis?

Most people read this one statement and immediately assumed that he was saying people were being diagnosed to be cool or popular. Obviously that is not his intention at all as it’s fairly obvious that no one would do that. The general population see disorders such as Autism, Schizophrenia and so forth as negative things… as something they really do not want to be associated with. (most people hear “disorder” and think “crazy”… which is sad, but true)

What he more likely means is that Autism has taken over mainstream media to the point where people discuss Autism around the water cooler now. Every parent wonders about it, every new parent fears it, schools need to be aware of it and anyone within the Autism community promotes it’s awareness.

As a result, people are looking for it. And we all know, when you look for something hard enough, you begin to see it even though it’s not really there.

Milder form? What?

What he is saying, I think, is that Autism was never really supposed to have a “mild form” or “mild presentation,” as he states in the article. That is to say, either you’re very clearly Autistic or you’re not.

The DSM-IV was designed such that you’d fit a certain number of criteria to be diagnosed. That is to say, you must have several impairments and thus, be considered disabled. You read that right, disabled.

However, by including Asperger’s, he allowed for people with “milder” symptoms to qualify for the diagnosis which means that individuals who show some signs yet are not disabled now qualify.

That’s not to say that all individuals with Asperger’s are not disabled… many clearly qualify which is why there is such a classification in the first place.

The problem is that there is no clear boundary set any more which means that a lot of people fit the bill.

Real life example

Emo Care BearTake your average rebellious, down trodden teenager who hates school, has no friends and doesn’t feel like they fit in. Sometimes they’re “emo”, sometimes they’re “goth”….  sometimes they’re just kids.

The question becomes… are they just being miserable or are they Autistic?

I could argue that pretty much every single “emo” person out there qualifies to be diagnosed with Autism or at the very least, Asperger’s.

Are they? No.

At least, certainly not all of them. Most move on from that phase and go on to be normal (semi normal anyway) adults with a regular life.

But as the DSM-IV stands, or at least the way it is interpreted today, every single rebellious, not fitting in teen, could be diagnosed on the spectrum!

See how that could be considered a “fad diagnosis?”

To make matters worse

Doctors are under a great deal of pressure when a parent faces them with a child that isn’t reaching milestones or is having issues… if a parent is convinced that something is wrong, the doctor stands there with a decision to make. Is the child just not smart, is that parent truly just a bad parent… or do they fit on the spectrum enough to squeeze them a diagnosis so that they can get some therapy/help?

This article is from a tabloid newspaper so it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, however, if even a shred of it is true, it’s easy to see how something like this could be perverted into a method to gain funds or help in other areas.

Autism is the popular disorder right now, it is beginning to gain traction with governments and insurance agencies. If money gets channeled to this area, parents and doctors could find a way to squeeze children into a diagnosis that gets them the help they need.

It may get worse before it gets better

In May 2013, the DSM-5 is scheduled to be released with even more major changes. Keep in mind however that it’s still going to be a while before it’s complete so the proposed changes are not final as of yet.

The DSM-IV introduced Asperger’s into the Autism Spectrum and now, the DSM-5 plans to wipe out Asperger’s entirely. Yes, you read that right.

Proposed changes include removing classifications of various disorders and syndromes in preference of using a “severity scale“. I use quotation marks but that’s what I call it.

Essentially, you’ll be given a diagnosis as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 which will determine the amount of support you’ll need. Click on the “severity scale” to read more on it from the official site.

So the whole issue with having “mild presentation” will once again become even more… milder? Uhmm… more people will fit the criteria. That sounds right.

And don’t think these changes are limited to the Autism Spectrum. Several types of schizophrenia will also be removed.

You can read the actual DSM-5 site here, if you don’t easily fall asleep while reading science speak.

PS. For anyone that noticed and is wondering… up to and including the DSM-IV, they used roman numerals but have decided to do away with that and use regular numbers starting with the DSM-5. So it’s not just me flip flopping… honest.

Back to the fad diagnosis

So yes, I can understand the outrage that many people felt because it was almost as if he was calling us liars… telling us that we had our children diagnosed just because we thought it was the popular thing to do and not because our children really are Autistic.

But I can assure you, at least from my understanding of it, that it was not his intention at all. Those who clearly fit the criteria and are deserving of a diagnosis have nothing to be offended by.

My son is very clearly autistic, he very clearly fit the criteria… he still does.

Perhaps that is why I did not take offense.


To clarify and conclude, Autism is a disorder that is considered a real disability. It impairs many, or even all, aspects of your life.

The question is, are those who have difficulties and struggle qualified to be on the spectrum? Are they truly disabled? Are they truly impaired?

What do you think?

Do you think that people are being diagnosed a little too freely today?

Maybe the boundaries of what is and isn’t Autism should be confined a little more?

Do you think he meant something different than my interpretation? And if so, what did you take from it?

I’d love to hear from you.

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