Aspergers Syndrome, Can we Save it?

Persons diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome learned recently that the psychiatric community in the USA has determined that this disorder is so much like Autism that it should be diagnosed instead as a mild form of Autism. While there has been some overlap and similarities in Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, I am one psychologist who would have prefered that the two be more clearly separated, an outcome almost diametrically opposite from the one chosen by American psychiatry in its DSM-5 version (due out later this year).

While there are some advantages for these children to be seen as Autistic (access to research funds, better access to society’s supportive programs), these are outweighed by the negatives. It is less likely that adult and adolescent children with Aspergers will want to be identified as autistic. More important than the greater likelihood of stigmatization, is the prospect that the etiology and treatment of Aspergers will become hopelessly muddled and confused. Understanding of the disorder will be set back decades as will treatment and diagnostic issues. So what can be done?

There is a realistic prospect that US Psychiatry will change this decision the next time around, if advocacy groups apply pressure, however that prospect would require a wait of several years. A better approach is for the various advocacy groups tied to the disorder to develop a new institutional groundwork- one in which the funding for research, education and all things nonmedical are addressed outside the purview of mental health, and away from the insurance industry. While therapy may still need to rely on the medical establishment, the ICD-10 still can be used, at least for the near future, to capture the correct diagnosis (F-84.5).

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Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post! Really informative. :) hugs Paula x

  2. I almost never leave comments, but I browsed a few responses here Aspergers Syndrome, Can we Save it?
    | Author Friendly Blog. I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it look like like some of these comments appear like they are written by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are posting at additional online sites, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?


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