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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
January 2014

Autism Speaks Clarifies Recent Studies on DSM-5 and its Impact on Autism Prevalence

On January 27, 2014, Autism Speaks clarified two recent studies on the impact of DSM-5 on autism diagnosis and prevalence. The study conducted by Kim et. al (2014) found that 83 percent of children previously diagnosed with autism under the DSM-IV criteria still met the new criteria under DSM-5. This same study indicated that the remaining 14 percent would be diagnosed with the new diagnosis of social communication disorder (SCD). In a similar comparative study, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that autism prevalence estimates would decrease by 10 percent. The CDC did not indicate the impact of social communication disorder (SCD). However, other field tests suggest the 10 percent decrease is reflective of the new SCD diagnosis. Treatments are recommended to remain the same for those diagnosed with social communication disorder or autism spectrum disorder.

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Research Indicates Vocational Activities Promote Improvement in Quality of Life for Adults with ASD!

A recent 5 1/2 year long longitudinal study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders indicated that adults within a vocational placement, which promotes independence of the individual, tend to have a reduction in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors. Autism symptoms considered in the study included: repetitive behaviors, communication and social impairments, and restricted interests. In this sample of 153 adults with ASD, participants averaged 30 years of age and 69% were identified as having a comorbid intellectual disability. Parents of participants completed the Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R) to score maladaptive behaviors, Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) to identify present autism symptoms, Vocational Index to define participation and engagement in vocational activities, and Waisman Activities of Daily Living Skills (W-ADL) to identify level of independence in daily living activities. These 4 rating scales were completed at 2 different times over the 5 1/2 year study. The results indicated that greater vocational independence at the first testing period was linked to reductions in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors, as well as improvement in activities of daily living.

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Disability Scoop Publishes Article on Evidence-Based Interventions

An article in the January 21, 2014 Disability Scoop announced that a recent review, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, indicated an increase in evidence-based interventions from the 24 previously reported in 2008 to 27 currently. The review is produced by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, a multi-university center housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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