Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Goodbye to Aspergers but not to Me

The DSM-5 changes have been approved, and the definition of many things will be changing, including Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Among other things, Asperger's isn't going to be a thing anymore as of May 2013. But contrary to what folks might think, I'm not Aspergers! I don't think I'm going to be among the people who loses the label entirely, but rather among the people who get lumped all together as intended. I'm OK with being lumped all together with the rest of the Autistics. (Plus, you know, I still think that the Autistic-defined criteria for autism are a whole lot better than any of the DSM versions have been and as far as anyone who is wondering if a person is autistic or not, those are the ones I send people to. By those, I am an extremely obvious Autistic.)
It probably won't be particularly hard for me to get re-evaluated since there is a free counseling center at my university that is where I got evaluated in the first place anyways. The person who did my initial evaluation is gone, but there are other people there, including someone I see now- she knows I am Autistic, and I see her on a fairly regular basis. Last time was pretty simple- it was legitimately part of one session with the DSM, which I had pretty close to memorized by that point. Since I don't know the exact text of the revision (they may have made changes!) I probably won't have it memorized or anything this time, but I know the gist of it. This one should be fairly quick too.
And I'm glad, actually, that all the Autistic Spectrum Disorders are getting put together. I saw the study over in Australia, another country that uses the DSM- fully 50% of people with the Asperger's or PDD-NOS label actually met criteria for Autistic Disorder. So far as I could gather, the reason for the "milder" label was based on functioning levels, which are a flawed concept to begin with and hurtful in practice. It could even be argued that this would be one of the ways it is hurtful in practice- people know what autism is, sometimes, but who knows what PDD-NOS is? Plenty of people thing Asperger's isn't really autism anyways, so people who need supports might not have gotten them since the label was Asperger's based on a brief and flawed idea of a person's functioning level.
I'm not so glad about the vague and the fact that the DSM-5 criteria were shown to be less accurate at correctly identifying Autistic people than the DSM-IV-TR was. Both are good at figuring out that non-autistic people are, in fact, non-autistic, but DSM-5 misses more people if the initial results are correct. That is a problem. The vagueness also allows more room for interpretation, which leaves it more to the individual evaluators, I suspect. That's potentially OK and potentially horrible. I am worried that the "white kids are autistic, black kids have ODD" discrepancy may get worse, and I am also worried that many autistic kids may also get misdiagnosed with the new DMDD, which is about tantrums. It's easy to mistake a meltdown for a tantrum, and the concept of an autistic kid getting medicated for DMDD instead of being helped with learning to cope in a neurotypical world (plus the whole potentially giving anti-psychotics to toddlers who have tantrums thing) scares me. That's what I think is wrong with the new DSM. Folding in Asperger's doesn't worry me much, but how they make their changes is scary.

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