The American Psychiatric Association is all set to revise the Diagnostic and Standard Manual, the first such revision in seventeen years. The DSM-V is basically a guide for the diagnosis of developmental disorders, mental illnesses, and other problems of a neuropsychiatric nature.
Since the 1980s, the number of children diagnosed with autism has skyrocketed. Some doctors, fearing that too many children are being diagnosed as autistic when in fact they’re not have urged a review of the issue. I do understand that autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there’s a wide variety of different behaviours associated with autism and not all of them are found in all patients. However, some experts find the current wording in the DSM-IV too vague. On the other hand, some parents of children who have been diagnosed with varying degrees of autism are indeed worried, given that their ability to receive therapy for their children from the state as well as disability payments later on, could be negatively impacted.
You can read more about that here.
I had the occasion to do some reading on Asperger’s Syndrome recently. I was, to put mildly, a bit of an unusual child. My interests diverged sharply from those of my classmates. While many of my classmates were into sports, I developed a loathing for American football that I retain to this day. Instead of a mere recreational hatred, as far as I am concerned, it is something I truly loathe. To be honest, I had only the vaguest idea of who Joe Paterno is and no idea who Jerry Sandusky is. I sympathise greatly with the late Robert Maynard Hutchins, a former president of the University of Chicago who killed off both the football programme and fraternities, seeing them as distractions to the university’s purpose. On the other hand, I truly have enjoyed going to baseball games with friends. I really think that there’s a need to make sure that persons who are a bit odd are not diagnosed with AS automatically. In looking at what constitutes AS under the terms as defined by the DSM-IV, I can see that there might be a likelihood that I would have been diagnosed with AS had I gone to elementary school in the 1990s. However, I remain somewhat skeptical of it all. I don’t doubt that there is such a thing as Austism or Asperger’s Syndrome. However, I’m also troubled by the vagueness of the diagnostic criteria. The experts seem to be troubled as well.