Autism Spectrum Disorder in DSM-5: What the Research Shows and Recommendations for Change
Over the course of the last several months, considerable discussion has centered around the issue of how to appropriately structure the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder within the DSM-5. The Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup charged with this task possesses a challenging job, requiring an effective synthesis of both a vast research literature and the use of significant clinical and policy knowledge to try to anticipate the practical consequences of different choices. In our previous policy brief, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network reviewed the potential implications of the DSM-5 draft criteria for ASD on services, supports, and accommodations for children and adults on the autism spectrum within the United States. We identified a wide variety of both positive and negative implications of the proposed shifts within the ASD diagnosis. This brief aims to expand upon this discussion by outlining a variety of the issues facing and research-backed options available to the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup as it works to complete the diagnostic criteria for ASD within the DSM-5.