Saturday, March 31, 2012

1 in 88 versus the DSM for Autism

There's a whole new line of fear-mongering being launched right now across the internet about how the new DSM will supposedly change how autism is reported. This will supposed change the new number of 1 in 88 children back towards 1 in 110 or even further off of that.

First of all, you have to ask yourself one question: Based on what proven statistic?

You see the idea of 1 in 88 is not NEW news by any means. It's been under study as a possible change in statistics for three years (give or take). So here we go again, freaking out over old news. Just because they've decided to place confirmation on it doesn't mean the world is going to change. All these people had autism and tomorrow they still will, but I get ahead of myself here.

As I posted in my last blog about the DSM (and the one before that), the changes in diagnosis that people are freaking out about, were implemented LAST YEAR. So Asperger's was already dissolved into being called simply.... autism. So, again, nothing new. And by the way, that didn't change my diagnosis or my son's diagnosis. Want to know why?

Because it's up to your doctor! Moreso it's up to you and your doctor as a team. Doctors don't go through all their patients and change diagnosis just because the DSM says so. Can you imagine the kind of man hours that would take? Doctors don't have time to quibble over terminology just because a panel of experts say so.

There is no law that says your child has to be rediagnosed. If your doctor has been supportive of your child's needs so far, that is highly unlikely to change. And ask your doctor, yes a profound thought, ASK YOUR DOCTOR if you are worried. Don't read some bilge on the internet and go into hysterics, it does nothing for you.

Doctors don't like being told how to diagnose their patients. Read that over and over again until you'll never forget it.  Since the last fear wave went through I mentioned it to real live doctors myself. One of which rolled his eyes and shook his head. He knows his patients IN PERSON. The people writing the DSM don't.

The comments that will fly by your pages will have little in the way of educational merit and be nothing more than blind fear. I've seen comments on "accurate reporting" and "losing diagnosis" and as I dug into them, I found that there was no supporting evidence to any of them.

So, the final advice that will clinch it all is to talk to your doctor! The internet is a fine place for advice, but none of these people know you or your family personally who may be giving this advice.

Past that, I'm not surprised they were able to confirm the 1 in 88, I'm sure that number will increase as time goes on.


SueBritton said...

Thank you for sharing this! My son is Asperger's. He wasn't diagnosed until he was 12. Once I understood what it was, I was not suprised that is what he has. He's almost 17 now, and doing ok. I'm glad he was diagnosed, it really helps me understand him better and advocate for him!!

DJ Wilde said...

"There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Mark Twain

Educate yourself and talk to the real people who impact your life directly. The DSM does not and can not unless you make it that way.

DJ Wilde said...

Hey Sue, that wasn't a response to you. It's how comments timed out. I'm glad whenever what I post is helpful to anyone. Thanks for your comment!