, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 2021-2022
Date: 24 Jul 2012

Postponing the Proposed Changes in DSM 5 for Autistic Spectrum Disorder Until New Scientific Evidence Adequately Supports Them

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Dear Editor,

We write to express the following concerns about the proposed DSM 5 criteria for ASD and the inclusion of a new disorder (Social Communication Disorder).

First, it is crucial to note that the proposed changes for the diagnosis of ASD are not based on new empirical evidence. There is no scientific rational for a change at this time. The fact that DSM 5 is scheduled to be published next year does not, in and of itself, necessitate a change.

Second, it is crucial to note that the proposed changes may cause harm in many areas of clinical practice and research. Some of these potential harms are:

  1. Preliminary studies comparing the current and proposed criteria indicate that approximately 20–40 % of those patients currently diagnosed by DSM IV-TR criteria will not be diagnosed by the new criteria. These patients who “drop out” will lose access to services causing untold hardship to them and their families.

  2. The vast body of research data and results published since 1994 using the DS