The American Psychiatric Association approves updates to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

On December 1, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced that its Board of Trustees had approved its update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). The long anticipated 5th edition of the DSM includes changes that are very important to the intellectual and developmental disability community as numerous federal and state programs as well as private health insurance plans use it to determine eligibility for critical services and supports. As of today, the final language for the new diagnostic criteria has not been made publicly available, though it has been announced that the new diagnosis of “Autism Spectrum Disorder” will combine Asperger’s and Autism under one umbrella term. The Arc submitted comments to the APA in June expressing our concerns over this new term in addition to the proposed new term “intellectual developmental disorder”. The DSM-5 manual is scheduled for publication in May of 2013. Learn more about the new edition of the DSM.

The Arc comments on draft Diagnostic criteria

On June 15, The Arc submitted comments to the American Psychiatric Association regarding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) draft diagnostic criteria for “Intellectual Developmental Disorder” and “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” DSM definitions are critically important to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as numerous federal and state programs as well as private health insurance plans use the DSM to determine eligibility for critical services and supports. Changes to the diagnostic criteria could have devastating effects on individuals with I/DD who need services, supports, and basic protections to remain in their communities. For instance, some individuals could lose eligibility for special education services, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), supportive housing, and protections against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if changes are made to the DSM and later adopted by government agencies. Read The Arc’s letter.