Over at Opposing Views, Val writes an interesting article about the DSM-V and the potential overdiagnosis of autism. In her opinion, the criteria for autism are once again broadened to include more able persons, and those with intellectual disabilities are overlooked.
I agree in part with her. There is a risk that normal variation and subclinical autism will creep into the DSM-V, which means people who can function perfectly well, will get a label stuck onto them. I oppose this move, because we don’t need to medicalize normal variations, and, indeed, medicalizing normal variation will lead to less awareness of the real disability that autism is.
But I disagree where Val concludes that those with intellectual disabilities will be left out. Autistic disorder in DSM-IV doesn’t require intellectual disability, either, and a comorbid diagnosis is needed if one suffers from ID. In that respect, the effect of the broadening of criteria to include normal variation and subclinical presentations, will be the same no matter whether intellectual disability is present: severe autism symptomatology will be underestimated.
And, indeed, what about those with severe impairments from their autism who do not happen to have intellectual disabilities? I am sick of having intelligence equated with functioning in the autism community. That, in fact, damages those with the more severe impairments from their autism who happen to have normal IQs.