All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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17 April 2009

DSM V: Lobbying for a Major DSM IV Overhaul

It's no secret that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV) criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders is in need of significant revisions and updating.

I am currently in the process of organizing and gathering information from the Autistic community to include in our proposed changes to the DSM V.
A colleague of mine will soon be submitting a formal paper, fully inclusive of views from the Autistic community, to the committees in charge of creating the DSM V.

Personally, I am especially passionate about seeing a significant addition to the DSM V regarding the uniqueness of autistic females, as autism may present very differently in females than in males.

So far, our changes and additions include:

  • Attention toward the unique differences in how autism presents in males and females, as well as to realize that young autistic females may very well be interested in princesses, fairies, dolls, fantasy, fashion, ballet, etcetera. It is especially important to note that autistic female interests may not at all mirror common autistic male interests.

  • Spotlighting uneven skills in autistic people.

  • Clarifying special interests, as they may realistically range from athletic to artistic to intellectual pursuits.

  • Noting that individuals on the autistic spectrum do not lack empathy or emotions.

  • Correcting previous data regarding autistic people and their supposed lack of imagination.

  • Noting that autism is not a mental disorder, but rather a neurologically-based developmental disability.

  • Defining hyper and hypo sensitivity and/or difficulty with sensory integration.

  • Adding the fact that many autistic individuals may have motor, as well as executive functioning strengths and challenges.

The DSM V is expected to debut in 2012 (late spring).

Related Links:

Autism and Empathy

Blasting Stereotypes in Autistic Females

Doctor's are 'failing to spot Asperger's in girls'

DSM-V Neurodevelopmental Disorders Work Group

Myths of Autism

Skills Here. Skills There. Skills Spiraling Everywhere.

The Truth About Autistic Females


  1. Thanks beastinblack! Glad to have you as a reader!

  2. You bring up some of my own concerns, glad we are on the same page and appreciate the links you offer . Time to break the circular logic of current DXing that says that if you don't totally fit the stereo-type model of train obsessed/computer geek male then you are not AS ,(instead of the more logical...if your are AS in most ways but and don't fit the current stereotypes the it maybe time to change the assumptions about AS ...Duh ?)

  3. As a young women with Asperger syndrome and a psychology student, I strongly agree with your post. You have done a lot of research into this.


  4. Thanks for your support Laura! And yes, our group has put a lot of research toward our submission (especially the main people in charge). It's nice to receive positive feedback. Best wishes!