The autism diagnosis changes being introduced in the upcoming DSM-V have spawned a loud lament over potential loss of services, the fear being that under the new criteria many children will be deprived of essential treatments they would have qualified for under the old criteria.
But here's my question: how does anyone
know this is a bad thing? Let's face it, we have yet to see the first
piece of meaningful, significant evidence that these so-called
“essential treatments” are actually helpful for autistic children
(or adults, for that matter). My suspicion is that many of these
so-called “essential treatments” (drugs and ABA at the head of
the list) are actually harmful in most instances. Suspicions
aside (mine or anyone else's), even a cursory glance at the autism
research literature reveals that our current knowledge about
autism treatments and interventions is chaotic at best. In point of
fact, we haven't the first clue whether we're doing harm or good.
So I'll ask the question again: if more
children are being denied treatments and interventions under the new
diagnostic guidelines, how do we know for sure this is a bad thing?
It's the law of unintended consequences. And the reason the
consequences are unintended is that when it comes to autism knowledge
and understanding, we remain almost totally in the dark.