Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


Eighth Annual Autism Conference; Louisville, KY; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #14
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Where Did The DSM-5 Criteria For ASD Come From and Where Are They Going To Take Us?

Sunday, March 2, 2014
8:15 AM–9:05 AM
Grand Ballroom A-B (Suite Tower)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Catherine Lord, Ph.D.
Chair: Naomi Swiezy (HANDS in Autism, IU School of Medicine)
CATHERINE LORD (Center for Autism and the Developing Brain)
Catherine Lord, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in diagnosis, social, and communication development, and intervention in autism spectrum disorders. She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of children with autism as well as for her role in developing the autism diagnostic instruments used in both practice and in research worldwide today. She also has been involved in the development of standardized diagnostic instruments for ASD with colleagues from the United Kingdom and the United States (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) an observational scale; and the Autism Diagnostic Interview–Revised (ADI–R) a parent interview), now considered the gold standard for research diagnoses throughout the world. Dr. Lord completed degrees in psychology at University of California at Los Angeles and Harvard University, and a clinical internship at Division TEACCH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Lord’s work at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain in New York involves continued research in validity and longitudinal studies, early diagnosis of children with autism, and regression in children with autism and clinical evaluations and diagnoses of children and adults who may have autism.

The proposed changes to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) were first discussed in 1999, when key leaders of the American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute of Mental Health decided to work together on expanding the scientific basis for psychiatric diagnosis and classification. This presentation will discuss how autism is currently being diagnosed and the various factors that have made diagnosing autism more challenging. Social, behavioral, and communication challenges and the characteristics that are often associated with individuals having ASD, will be defined and explained in the context of daily living (specifically in the home and school environment). The importance of evidence-based treatments and access to various types of services meant to improve quality of life for individuals with ASD will be highlighted. The presentation will explain why it is necessary to revise the DSM IV-TR criteria and discuss the process through which the new criteria for DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders have been developed. Clinical, political, and scientific questions about the criteria will be outlined. Research that contributed to the development of the criteria and what occurred subsequent to the first drafts of the Autism Spectrum Disorders criteria will be addressed. Strategies that concerned families and service providers may use to decrease confusion and possible misuse of the new criteria will be provided.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, graduate students, and anyone interested in learning more about the DSM-5 Criteria for autism spectrum disorders.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) Increase familiarity with proposed DSM-5 criteria and the underlying logic; (2) Understand strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to screening and diagnostic assessment; and (3) Increase awareness of research, clinical and policy issues in how ASD is diagnosed.
Keyword(s): classification, DSM-5 criteria , Psychiatric diagnosis



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