Proposed changes to autism definition could exclude many

WOODBURY - Some parents and autism advocates are concerned that proposed changes to the definition of autism may change the way thousands of children are treated.

The American Psychiatric Association is doing a study that may narrow the autism spectrum. Currently, experts say one out of every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, but those statistics would change under the new definition. Advocates argue that under the new changes, many children won't meet the criteria to receive the services they need. Evelyn Ain, the president of Autism United, says a narrower spectrum could exclude many high-functioning autistic children and some with Asperger's syndrome. Those children may lose health and educational services that often set them up for a more successful future, Ain says.The American Psychiatric Association says the criteria will lead to more accurate diagnostics. The study is set to be finalized next year.

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