There has been much discussion of the impact the DSM 5 will have on who will be diagnosed with autism. Another paper exploring this came out yesterday: How Does Relaxing the Algorithm for Autism Affect DSM-V Prevalence Rates?. The abstract is below:
Although it is still unclear what causes autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), over time researchers and clinicians have become more precise with detecting and diagnosing ASD. Many diagnoses, however, are based on the criteria established within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); thus, any change in these diagnostic criteria can have a great effect upon children with ASD and their families. It is predicted that the prevalence of ASD diagnoses will dramatically decrease with the adoption of the proposed DSM-5 criteria in 2013. The aim of this current study was to inspect the changes in prevalence first using a diagnostic criteria set which was modified slightly from the DSM-5 criteria (Modified-1 criteria) and again using a set of criteria which was relaxed even a bit more (Modified-2 criteria). Modified-1 resulted in 33.77 % fewer toddlers being diagnosed with ASD compared to the DSM-IV, while Modified-2 resulted in only a 17.98 % decrease in ASD diagnoses. Children diagnosed with the DSM-5 criteria exhibited the greatest levels of autism symptomatology, but the Mod-1, Mod-2, and DSM-IV groups still demonstrated significant impairments. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Without the full paper it is difficult to compare the modified criteria. Also, from the abstract alone we can’t tell much about the methodology of the application of the DSM 5 and the two modified criteria. Keeping those very large caveats in mind, this study points to a lower rate of autism diagnoses for toddlers under the DSM 5, even with modifications. The study does not appear to address the question of the effect of the DSM 5 on diagnosing adults.