A study recently revealed that autism cases may drop based on the new criteria used for diagnosing autism. The new diagnostic criteria, referred to as DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been criticized for removing certain subcategories of autism from its earlier edition (DSM-4).
If the new criteria were to be applied to 6,577 children who previously met the guidelines under DSM-4 for autism and related disorders, 19 percent would not get an autism diagnosis today. This would mean that families who used to rely on and benefit from the autism diagnosis may no longer do so if their child does not meet the new criteria.
“The things that would indicate early developmental delays are going to be the same,” adds Matthew Maenner from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
The new guidelines use seven instead of the previous 12 to define autism and associated disorders. It also looks into the historical behavior of the patient, together with his current behavior.