Essential Pittsburgh
12:50 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Living with Autism and Revising the DSM

Dorene Ciletti and her autistic high school aged daughter Sabrina Filipek.
Credit Alexis Eperjesi / 90.5 WESA

April is Autism Awareness Month and if you or your child has autism you've likely heard of the DSM, published by the American Psychiatric Association. DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the main purpose of the manual is to provide standard guidelines for clinicians to use when diagnosing psychological disorders and conditions. The manual outlines criteria that must be met to receive a diagnosis, as well as labeling and coding sometimes used by insurance companies to identify the diagnosis. The DSM is periodically revised and this spring new revisions to the manual will be published.  

Dr. Catherine Lord is the Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She’s also part of the work group that developed the DSM revisions.  She talks about how the revisions stand to impact those on the Autism Spectrum.

And Dr. Rachel Robertson is a behavioral analyst and professor in the Duquesne University School of Education. She’s studying behavior and communication in Pittsburgh families with children on the autism spectrum. But not just the children. Dr. Robertson is especially interested in working with African American families and those at different socioeconomic levels. She joins us to talk about her work.