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Autism Diagnosis

Pete Springer/OPB

Over the years, autism rates have grown rapidly. The CDC estimates nearly 1 in 88 children in the United States have autism spectrum disorder.  But that statistic may change soon. 

Over the past five years, the American Psychiatric Association has been working on an update of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the first major revision of the DSM in 17 years. It will be released in May of next year with changes to a variety of disorders, most notably autism. 

The definition will lump Asberger’s, autism, and other non-verbal learning disorders into one diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. Two years ago, we spoke with people concerned about the elimination of Asperger’s from the DSM. Now, a Yale study, published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has some members of the autism community worried.  They are concerned some will lose a disablility diagnosis entirely. The study suggested that if implemented, nearly 40% of those with autism would be excluded from a diagnosis. We’ll talk with a local autism expert to give us an overview of the new definition and how the change might affect patients.

Do you or someone you know have autism? What are your questions or concerns about the proposed changes to the new definition? 


  • Darryn Sikora: Clinical psychologist and director of the autism program at Oregon Health and Science University’s Child Development and Rehabilitation Center
autism health

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OPB | Broadcast: April 30, 2012