As I'm watching the conversations about this issue unfold I'm developing pretty strong feelings in favor or these changes to the DSM.
There are many, many non-spectrum disorders that can look like autism but aren't. Hearing loss, language disorders, and other developmental delays can all cause reduced eye contact, language delays, and stereotypical physical behaviors like toe walking or hand flapping. The new criteria will make it a little bit less likely that kids who aren't on the spectrum can get a correct diagnosis. If many kids are getting placed on the spectrum when they shouldn't, then we need to correct that. Really, its the idea that only spectrum kids need services that is the problem here. People "want" the diagnosis because they want services.
This is personal for me because DS has a severe language disorder and I am really, really sick of having to convince every new professional we deal with that he is not on the spectrum. They eventually see for themselves, but we struggle over and over again with therapists, teachers, and doctors wanting to address the wrong problems because they misunderstand what is going on with DS. My DS needs massive language intervention but really doesn't need help with social skills and pretend play so therapists are just wasting time working on those issues. Having an accurate diagnosis is how we can best help all kids. However I have had numerous individuals suggest I accept an incorrect diagnosis because it would just make "everything easier."
I guess the question for me is, will the DSM change really increase accuracy in diagnoses? Or is this just going to provide some with an excuse to save money and cut kids off from services they need because they are no longer on the spectrum? I have no idea how these new criteria are really going to impact the ways that doctors and other professionals diagnose and treat disorders and neural differences.