Over the course of the last several months, a lot of questions have been raised about how upcoming changes to the DSM-5 definition of the autism spectrum will impact people’s lives.
Many people are concerned that changes in the diagnostic criteria may make it more difficult for them to access services, supports and accommodations. How are the changes likely to impact Autistic adults applying for services from a state Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) agency, or for disability payments from the Social Security Administration? What about parents trying to figure out how a change in the diagnostic criteria will impact their interactions with the school system? Or Autistic adults seeking accommodations in the workplace or at a college or university?
Today, ASAN is proud to release a new policy brief providing specific and meaningful information to help answer these questions. Co-written by ASAN President Ari Ne’eman and ASAN chapter leader and UCLA graduate student Steven Kapp, our new policy brief is the first of two reports we will be releasing analyzing the issues surrounding the autism spectrum and the DSM-5. In it, we review the likely effects of DSM-5 on IDEA-mandated special education services, income support programs like SSI and SSDI as well as associated public health insurance, services from state I/DD agencies and access to legal rights under the ADA and Section 504.
We found some interesting things, showing how DSM-5’s proposed ASD criteria could impact our community in both positive and negative ways. We also include some recommendations to the work group writing the DSM-5, suggesting some ways that the draft criteria can be improved to avoid doing harm while still retaining the positive developments we have seen to date. Take a read, and if you share our thoughts, please make your opinions known to APA.
The public comment process remains open till June 15th, and we urge you to use our policy brief to help take advantage of this opportunity to be heard. Details of how to send your thoughts to APA can be found at this link and our report is available by clicking on its title below:
Thank you for your time and we hope you’ll help us make sure our community’s voice is heard. Nothing About Us, Without Us!
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network