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Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Can We Expect From The DSM-5 Changes; The Importance of Sports Participation; Mercyhurst University Put Students With Autism On Path To Independence; The Autism Response Team

"Expect The Exceptional."...Jerry Komar

DSM-5 Changes: What Can We Expect? And Why It Matters.


While final decisions are still months away, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is trying to reassure everyone interested in autism that the changes in the DSM-5 will not exclude individuals from diagnosis and treatment. According to the APA, the changes involve merging several diagnoses now listed separately in DSM-5 under one umbrella category as "autism spectrum disorder."

APA contends the changes will lead to more accurate diagnoses and will help physicians and clinicians design better treatment interventions.

Why do the changes matter? Put simply, the changes can lead to profound effects on the lives of individuals. Critics argue that many individuals have been helped immeasurably because of their autism diagnoses. If this changes, will that mean many individuals will be shut out of acquiring previously mandated services and supports? As of this writing, no one knows for certain. But what is certain is any change must be done cautiously, carefully and with a great deal of prudence. To many lives depend on it.
(Sources: CNN, APA)

The Importance of Sports Participation

Participating in sports and recreation is important for everyone including individuals with autism. We've known from years of research that recreation and sports can relieve stress, improve overall health,  help develop confidence, can enhance gross motor skills, improve self-esteem, improve communication and social skills, and can result in a host of other positive outcomes.

What sports activities then are good for children with autism? Below is a list of recommendations (note: children with autism, just like their peers, should be given the opportunity to participate in those sporting activities they like. For example, if your child wants to play baseball and you're comfortable with that, by all means allow him/her to participate. The suggestions below meet most of the criteria referenced above):
  • Swimming
  • Track and Field
  • Bowling
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Martial Arts Training
  • Skiing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Sailing
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
(Sources: Livestrong, Healing Thresholds)