DSM-V Changes for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Implications for Diagnosis, Management, and Care Coordination for Children With ASDs

Published:October 23, 2015DOI:


      The purpose of this article is to highlight issues about diagnosis and management of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in all settings, along with care coordination for all children with ASDs. The article outlines differences between the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, revised (DSM-IV-TR) and the newer version (DSM-V) for ASDs. These changes may limit the eligibility of some children for services in school, leading to poorer social/academic outcomes, lower rates of employment, and decreased assistance in eventual independent living. Primary care providers identified a lack of knowledge regarding ASDs before the DSM-V was published, describing difficulty in making ASD diagnoses, recognizing early symptoms of developmental concern, and managing care. Care coordination is part of the role of the advanced practice nurse, and lack of understanding of ASD changes in the DSM-V may diminish the ability of advanced practice nurses to screen for ASDs and make the appropriate referrals.

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      Sandra L. Lobar, Associate Professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL.