Are We Really Diagnosing Autism Right?
Diagnosing of autism flared up more
and more heated debates. As the recent research showed the correlation between
people with this illness and those who don’t have it became less obvious.
The scientists explain that it’s due to the fact that people with less noticeable symptoms are still diagnosed with autism. The reason is that this disorder manifests itself in many ways, so sometimes psychiatrists confuse other mental conditions with this one.
The category of this illness is expanded greatly over the last decades, so now it is possible to see patients who have both ADHD and autism. Sometimes such diagnosis is fair and has a right to exist. But overall, there are major tendencies to call someone autistic while it isn’t really so. In this case, we can say that overdiagnosing can become a problem in the future because there’re more and more mental conditions disguised as autism. Thus more and more young specialist will rely on a new model of diagnosis which will result in greater number of patients who are treated in the wrong way.
Diagnosis on early stages does not equal overdiagnosing
Despite the fact that a lot of professors and psychiatrists got concerned with dangerous tendencies, there is another point of view. A lot of other specialists claim that there’s nothing wrong with widening the spectrum of autistic disorder.
Ashley Baker, a clinical psychologist said that she is not worried about blurring the lines between autism and other conditions because it brings more awareness to the people who suffer from this disorder. It is vitally important to warn parents and communities about the early symptoms as it may help them to understand how such people should be treated and how we can prevent some negative effects. So, in this case, it’s not overdiagnosing but necessary awareness and caution.
It’s crucial to remember that autism doesn’t change its main features. Everything that is typically claimed as autistic symptoms still stays the same as it has always been. The thing is that nowadays the specialists found the way how to diagnose this mental illness in its milder form. And, of course, in this case, the typical indicators aren’t always present, but still it doesn’t mean that the patient was diagnosed wrong.
Professional psychiatrists are very serious about this disorder, so early diagnosis is only beneficial as people can get proper treatment at the right time to live a healthy and happy life.
The criteria are not the same anymore
The recent data showed that the percentage of 8-year-old children who got diagnosed with autism has increased from 0,05 to more than 2. Due to the change of criteria and definition of autism more and more people found out about their illness at an early age.
It happened because previously some disorders were excluded from the autistic spectrum and now there’re in. These are the following mental disorders:
- Asperger syndrome;
- Pervasive development disorder;
- Childhood disintegrative disorder.
Specialists also mention that it’s not only autism criteria that change, but the same thing also happened with ADHD, which is natural as our knowledge expands over time. Interestingly enough, it only applies to certain populations, while others (e.g women, lower-income people) stay the same. And now we should try to understand what was the real reason for such a specific increase in diagnosis.