What did they find?
The study concluded that the proposed DSM-5 diagnostics criteria could significantly alter the composition of the autism spectrum. When applying the DSM-5 criteria, 60 percent of ASD cases met the revised diagnostics. Overall specificity was high with 94 percent of participants accurately excluded from the spectrum. About 25 percent of those diagnosed with autism and 75 percent of those with Asperger’s Syndrome or PDDNOS would not meet the new diagnostic criteria. The study also found that higher-functioning individuals might be less likely to meet the diagnosis than individuals with more significant cognitive disabilities.
So what’s the significance?
The new, more exclusive DSM-5 diagnostics pose serious ramifications regarding treatment eligibility and medical assistance. The impact of the new criteria still needs to be examined in a clinical and research setting, but the immediate needs of those on the spectrum may not be met as result of a narrowed diagnosis.
Those who have already been diagnosed on the autism spectrum will not suddenly lose their diagnosis or covered services, but future diagnosis will be very different. While the new criteria makes ASD diagnosis more accurate, there still needs to be some sort of recognition and assistance for those on the high-functioning end of the spectrum that will likely be excluded from the DSM-5 definition.
American Psychiatric Association. (2011, January 26). American psychiatric association dsm-5 development. Retrieved from http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94
Sensitivity and Specificity of Proposed DSM-5 Diagnositc Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. (2012, March 16). Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved from