Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Panel #533
Autism Spectrum Disorder and the DSM: Who is Captured Under the Autism Spectrum Disorder Umbrella and Who Has Been Left Out in The Rain?
Monday, May 30, 2022
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 254A
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
Chair: Gloria Satriale (Mission to Education Children with Autism (MECA))
MARIA LEARY (Autism New Jersey)

The introduction of the DSM-5, in May of 2013, represented a radical overhaul of the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Previous attempts to describe ASD across multiple diagnostic categories were eschewed because of poor diagnostic clarity due to limited homogeneity within and across subcategories (Rosen, et al., 2018). Unfortunately, availability of resources for potential successful treatment could be limited based on these previous diagnostic criteria. Initial concerns regarding these changes were focused on those who had been diagnosed previously with Asperger’s syndrome. However, it was found that 91% of individuals previously diagnosed would continue to fall under the revised ASD diagnosis, and the vast majority of those not covered met the diagnostic criteria for the newly described Social Communication Disorder (Huerta & Lord, 2012). But what about the impact of the DSM-5’s changes to ASD diagnostic criteria on those falling on the opposite end of the ASD spectrum? Has the current DSM-5 delineation of diagnostic criteria misrepresented the affected population as a homogenous sample rather than representing the disparate clinical presentations of the spectrum itself? This panel will discuss the wide ranging impact of the DSM-5’s ASD diagnostic criteria on treatment, funding and legislation.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Diagnostic Criteria, DSM-5, Funding, Severe Autism



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