The Autism Blog

DSM 5 and Autism- An Update From the Front Lines Part 2

We’ve all heard the adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The questions we face surrounding autism in the DSM 5 are first, is it broken, and if so, how should it be fixed? In the current system, Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) are treated like distinct conditions. Indeed, if a medication is FDA approved for the treatment of Autism, that approval does not extend to Asperger’s or PDD. It is not uncommon for service systems to treat these diagnoses as distinct conditions, and differentially recognize them (or not).  Read full post »

DSM 5 and Autism- An Update From the Front Lines

A new round of interest in the potential impact of diagnostic changes being proposed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or “DSM”, was sparked last week by a report suggesting that many individuals would likely lose their diagnoses if the defining criteria for autism, Asperger’s disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified are changed. A number of the stories that we were seeing suggested that the definition was being tightened because of concerns relating to over-diagnosis, with one commenter offering that the change in definition would solve the autism epidemic by “nipping it in the bud”.

As one who has been directly involved in the DSM process and whose fingerprints are on some of these proposed changes, I have been asked to clarify what is going on and thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts here.  Read full post »

Autism and Medical Hospitalization

The third part of our series on “things we’d all rather not think about” is medical hospitalization of a child with autism. To get an insider’s perspective, we turned to Julie Eigsti who wears two hats: health care professional and mom.

theautismblog: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Julie Eigsti: My name is Julie, and I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) for 19 years. I had the privilege of spending 18 of those years working on the medical unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since my son was diagnosed on the mild end of the autism spectrum, I have worked with three children on the spectrum. Before that, I am sad to say, I am not really sure. I have been married for 21 years and have two beautiful children, Elle who is eleven years old and Joel who is six years old. Read full post »

Autism and Things We Would All Rather Not Think About- Part 2

This is the second part in a series on the emergency department, hospitalization and insurance.

While parents all hope their children will never be hospitalized, under certain situations, it may be necessary. For children with autism, a hospitalization may be even scarier. Kids on the spectrum may become emotionally dysregulated when taken out of their routine. If it is necessary to hospitalize a child on the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (IPU) at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), there are many things a parent should know and can do to help in the transition to the hospital. The purpose of this blog is to give some background on why a child might be admitted and what to expect during a hospital stay. Read full post »

Autism and Things We Would All Rather Not Think About

The first part in a series on the emergency department, hospitalization and insurance

Today we begin a series of blogs on topics that none of us likes to think about. The daily challenges autism brings are plenty enough to keep loved ones on their toes. Our experience with hundreds of families though, tells us that there is value in discussing circumstances that you hope will never ever happen to your child . . . just in case . . . Read full post »