Concerns over proposed definition for autism

The definition for autism could soon change and this means some people who would have been diagnosed before won't meet the criteria.

The American Psychiatric Association is considering a new category called "autism spectrum disorder" which would add asperger's syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder under it's umbrella.

Many parents in our area are concerned with what effects this could have.

Aly Harmon is a mother of two autistic twin boys.

So finding out about this new proposal, makes her worry.

"It's hard enough in Amarillo right now to get autistic services, there's just not a lot here. I just know that if for some reason one or both of my boys were to end up off of the spectrum, they would be put into a mainstream education system where they're not going to be educated. They're going to be pushed aside," says Aly Harmon, mother of two autistic twin boys.

It's just going to be autism spectrum disorder. Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders will disappear," says Amy Garcia, Texas Panhandle Center for Behavioral and Developmental Health.

Right now when you go to the doctor each one of those disorders each has its own diagnostic scale to help determine whether the child needs help.

If the change is made, it will be revised so that only one test will be used.

It would have stricter criteria to meet and aims to lead to a more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

With different revisions being proposed, everyone is wondering what might happen.

"It's going to make it easier for those that do have autism, to get diagnosed with autism. It's going to be harder for those who don't have as many deficits but do have those social interaction problems to have a diagnosis," says Amy Garcia, Texas Panhandle Center for Behavioral and Developmental Health.

Aly Harmon is just hoping for the best when it comes to her sons.

"It's going to be a challenge if that's what happens and we are just hoping that it doesn't," says Aly Harmon, mother of two autistic twin boys.

The proposed criteria will be available for public comment in the Spring.