New autism guidelines change the game.
A recent study conducted by Columbia University has examined the effectiveness of new autism guidelines, and found that the new guidelines could cause potentially harmful treatment in previously diagnosed autism patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the guidelines, which were passed in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, focus on qualitative impairment in social interaction, qualitative impairment in communication, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities. The new guidelines fail to include subcategories that were previously considered when diagnosing and assessing autism spectrum disorder.
Kristine M. Kulage, MA, MPH, Director of the Office of Scholarship and Research Development at Columbia Nursing and lead for the Columbia University study, said in a statement that the change is a long time coming.
“We are potentially going to lose diagnosis and treatment for some of the most vulnerable kids who have developmental delays,” said Kulage. “For children living with certain types of autism, the new guidelines could exclude these children from receiving medical benefits, social services and the educational support necessary for coping with their conditions.”
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the autism disorders which no longer fall under the new guidelines include Asperger’s Disorder, autistic disorder and pervasive development disorder, diseases which were all previously included under the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The study, published in the journal Autism and Developmental Disorders, explains that the new abbreviated guidelines, which eliminate certain subcategories of Autism Spectrum Disorder, have the potential to not only lead to misdiagnosis, but also the overlooking of potential symptoms completely.
The study, titled “How Will DSM-5 Affect Autism Diagnosis? A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis,” raises questions regarding the new diagnosis guidelines and how, with one in 88 children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, many will no longer receive the treatment necessary for them to function properly, based on the new guidelines.