Today is the last day to provide public comment to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) regarding the definition of ASD within the DSM-5, the manual used by physicians and many policymakers to define autism and other disability diagnoses. You can find information regarding how to comment on our website, along with talking points we released earlier in the year outlining our recommendations.
Over the course of the last year, a lot of work has been done by our community on this issue. Earlier this year, ASAN released a joint statement with the Autism Society of America laying out principles regarding how the Committee should approach the shift in diagnostic standards. Last week, ASAN released a groundbreaking policy brief analyzing the implications of the draft ASD criteria within the DSM-5 on services, law and policy for the American Autistic community. Today, we are following up on that document with a new policy brief, outlining our recommendations for the draft criteria and providing extensive research support for each recommended change. The briefs, funded by a grant from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), are the first in a series of policy briefs produced under ASAN’s Program on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Autism Research.
We hope that you will find these documents useful as you structure your own public comments to the APA. We’ve worked to lay out in clear but well supported terms the implications of the DSM-5’s proposed shifts – both positive and negative – and the ways in which APA can be encouraged to make improvements to their current proposal. These policy briefs serve as a way to identify potential benefits and problems associated with the DSM-5 draft criteria, as well as understanding what the Autism Spectrum looks like across differences in age, racial, ethnic and cultural background and gender. We urge you to make use of them in your own public comments.