Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Come, Easy Go

In the Fourth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), Asperger’s Syndrome was added as a mental illness. In the ensuing years since, professionals have become frustrated trying to differentiate AS from autism. Hence, one of the recommendations released this week for the DSM-V (still a few years away from publication) is to fold Asperger’s into the autism spectrum.

The work group making recommendations on autism spectrum disorders is proposing that Asperger’s Syndrome be “subsumed into an existing disorder: Autistic Disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorder).”

An interesting point I’ve read is that some states now require insurance companies to cover services for autism, but not Asperger’s. So it may be a good thing to have AS reclassified. On the other hand, some “Aspies” are comfortable with the current designation, and may not want to be considered “autistic.”

In today’s NY Times, a father wrote of his Asperger’s-afflicted daughter, that she regards her autism as her strength. She credits it with her talent as an artist and singer, as well as her ability to relate to animals.

And once again, I stress that my son has Nonverbal Learning Disorder. The more I learn about this disability and my son’s abilities, the more confidence I have in him. It is building his self-confidence that I still worry about.

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