Monday, December 10, 2012


December 1st the committee agreed on the final version of the DSM-5; in May 2013, the DSM-5 will be published.

One of the most talked about changes from the DSM-IV to the DSM-5 has been in autism - they're changing it so that instead of having the separate diagnoses of classic autism, and Asperger's and PDD-NOS, they just have the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, with severity levels. People have been felt very strongly about this, argued about it a lot, and now, as of December 1st, its finalized, the diagnosis in the DSM-5 will in fact be Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I've been incredibly supportive of this change, and have been using the word autistic, specifying my diagnosis is Asperger's for a while. Now, we're all just autistic. This is better for the stigma for everyone on the spectrum to me - people are more individuals now. Yes, there are subtypes. But the subtypes aren't "Asperger's" vs "Classic Autism" - that split isn't a very meaningful one, and they are talking about taking into account details of individuals for people's diagnoses.

Will everything be the best it can be? No, but it should be better than it was.

I started using the word "autistic" to refer to myself instead of "aspie" for a few reasons including:

  • Inclusion of the entire spectrum, caring about what everyone on the spectrum wants, and general disability rights
  • Relating to what people elsewhere on the spectrum describe - including nonverbal people
  • Having issues with stereotypes of Asperger's; I am neither active-but-odd, nor NVLD, and people treat me as such, using "autistic but speaking on time" actually has people treat me better than "Asperger's

For me, the DSM-5 is a better description. I'm clearly a case of Asperger's, but I'm also passive, not active-but-odd. As it is, we'll have to see what actually happens. It's been too talked to really know what it is at at the moment. Likely, not much will change.