Push To Add 'Profound Autism' Label Gains Steam

Support for recognizing profound autism as a separate psychiatric diagnosis has gained momentum recently with several high-profile endorsements.
Since a 2013 change to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, autism spectrum disorder has been an umbrella diagnosis encompassing everyone from mildly affected individuals who used to be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome to those who are nonverbal and require 24-hour care.

“It's not useful to think of everybody having the same disorder, including a range of presentations from people who are law school graduates to those who are still in diapers and nonverbal,” Lutz said. “It's not helpful for research or therapeutics. It's become a meaningless category.”  The council adopted a position statement in October asking the American Psychiatric Association to revise the DSM to include a “distinct, stand-alone diagnostic category” for severe autism.

“The umbrella ASD diagnosis has marginalized a growing population of individuals whose neurobehavioral pathologies are among the most alarming and disabling in the entire field of psychiatry,” reads the statement.  Identifying autism as a spectrum that includes a growing number of people with no intellectual disability has led to potentially unintended consequences in research, government and culture, said Alison Singer, co-founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, read the entire article here