The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) is a dictionary that defines and classifies all mental health disorders. First published in 1952, the DSM is used by everyone from clinicians to pharmaceutical companies to policy makers. Since its inception, the DSM has been revised only four times — one such occasion was in 1980 when homosexuality was no longer defined as a mental disorder. In the fifth edition, another big change may come to the DSM. Autism is up for a redefinition which could potentially reduce the number of people considered "autistic" by half.
Benedict Carey is a science reporter for The New York Times, whose coverage of this story can be read in today’s edition. Temple Grandin is professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She is the author of “The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s" in which she describes autism through her personal experience.
John Gilmore is the parent of an autistic son. He shares his thoughts on how a new definition of autism could change life for her and her son.