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DSM-5 Takes Effect; Please Share Your Experiences

May 18, 2013

Dear friends,

At its annual meeting this weekend, the American Psychiatric Association released the long-anticipated fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Clinicians across the United States and much of the world use DSM to diagnose neuro-developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Over the last two years, Autism Speaks has taken a proactive role to help ensure that the DSM-5’s revised criteria for ASD would not result in a loss of diagnosis or services for affected individuals. Please see our DSM-5 Frequently Asked Questions and DSM-5 News and Updates for more information and background.

Now we need your help. We want to hear from individuals, families, teachers, therapists, physicians and others who are using the new diagnostic criteria or being affected by them – either directly or indirectly.

We’ve created more than a forum for discussion. We’ve developed two surveys – one for individuals and families affected by autism and one for professionals. And we’ve designed them in a way that will allow us to analyze the results and provide powerful feedback to the American Psychiatric Association and the autism community. (No identifying information will be shared.)

Please visit our DSM-5 Survey page here to access the surveys and more information on the DSM-5 and what it may mean for you.

Likewise please know that we are here for YOU. You can reach our Autism Response Team at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email

I’d also love you to join me and our Vice President for Family Services Lisa Goring for a live webchat at 7 pm Eastern tonight, Monday, May 20. Bring your questions and join the chat here.

Together we can improve the lives and transform the future of all those affected by autism.

Warmest regards,  





Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks