Do not remove Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Sub-Types from DSM
  • Petitioned Darrel A. Regier, MD, MPH

This petition was delivered to:

Ed. & Director, Div. of Research American Psychiatric Assoc.
Darrel A. Regier, MD, MPH
American Psychiatric Association

Do not remove Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Sub-Types from DSM

    1. Melissa Higgins
    2. Petition by

      Melissa Higgins

      Merrimack, NH

A new proposal seeks to eliminate diagnoses of Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder, and other sub-types of Autism Spectrum Disorders by removing the titles and lumping all of these under the umbrella of a general Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This proposed change has prompted much concern for several reasons. First, the proposed changes could narrow the criteria for ASD, limiting the ability of children demonstrating problems in areas of social, cognitive and/or physical development to receive the diagnosis necessary to receive the appropriate supports and services. Proponents of the changes say they will help, not hurt, people on the Autism spectrum, but how does anyone even know? Little research has been done demonstrating how the proposed changes will impact children on the Autism spectrum which could have serious implications in the healthcare, school, and home environments in the near future.

Second, little is known about how these proposed changes will impact children, teenagers, and adults with current diagnoses. No one should be forced to undergo additional assessments that are time-consuming and potentially costly (not every state covers the cost of these assessments) simply because of these changes. Moreover, it would not be reasonable to deny existing individuals access to services by stating they do not qualify because they do not meet the criteria under the new ASD umbrella diagnosis.

Third, understanding and awareness about Autism spectrum disorders have only recently begun to increase. Individuals diagnosed with Asperger's have obtained some degree of understanding due to exploration of the condition on television shows like Parenthood. Removing this diagnosis from the DSM would undermine all of the progress that has been made in this regard. It would also contribute to confusion regarding the different characteristics associated with the sub-types of Autism. All people are unique. Not all treatment methods for people on the Autism spectrum are similar, and even when they are this does not warrant a one-size-fits-all diagnosis for all individuals on the spectrum!

We, the undersigned, ask that much more research take place before any changes are made and that the implications of any proposed future changes be examined thoroughly before they are implemented. This has not been done for the above-described changes. We feel that much more harm will come of these changes than good. If the sub-type descriptions in the current DSM are problematic, fix them. But please do not completely eliminate all of these diagnoses without any knowledge or regard for potential consequences.

We ask that the review committee listen to the voices of the people and families affected by Autism before making any changes. It is the quality of our lives at stake here.

Here is an additional petition to consider on this topic. Thanks for signing!

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 2,500 signatures
    2. We have reached 500 signatures!

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks so much to all who have signed this petition and shared it with others. Please keep sharing this petition and encouraging people to sign. I am grateful for all the help provided.

    3. Reached 500 signatures
    4. The Autism Society Expresses concern about changes to DSM

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      The Autism Society is the nation's biggest grassroots agency relating to Autism. They issued a statement regarding the proposed changes to the DSM-5.

    5. Letters to the Editor

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      People speak out against the narrowing criteria in letters to the editor of the New York Times

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. New definition of autism could deny government aid and services

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      A new definition of autism could dramatically reduce the number of people diagnosed with the disorder, and deny government funding and educational services.

    8. Don't remove Asperger's from the DSM

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      A fantastic article by Lucy Berrington, cautioning against removing Asperger's Syndrome from the DSM-5.

    9. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Stephanie Batke SPOKANE, WA
      • about 2 years ago

      Helping people who may or may not need it isn't as damaging(if at all) as those who need help not being able to get it

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    • carolyn rouzer OLDSMAR, FL
      • about 2 years ago

      My daughter is on the spectrum but her insurance company doesn't even cover services nor will her school officially recognize her Asperger's. Its hard enough as it is, why take away a diagnosis that helps ? There are way too many degrees of spectrum disorders to change the DSM-5.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • jake tittle NORTH POTOMAC, MD
      • about 2 years ago

      I have aspergers syndrome and i do not want to be classified as being autistic!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • about 2 years ago

      Individuals who are on the higher functioning end of this disorder still need services to reach their full potential. Removing this diagnosis will make obtaining these services difficult if not impossible.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Antoinette White VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
      • over 2 years ago

      There is a vast difference between the language capabilities of a young child with Autism and a young child with Aspergers Syndrome. With the focus being on early childhood intervention, it makes sense to differentiate between the two in order to provide the most appropriate intervention.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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