Experts behind the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders didn’t back down on major changes to the definition of autism, but appear to have made an about-face when it comes to intellectual disability.
Initial plans to revise the diagnosis of “mental retardation” in the
forthcoming fifth edition of the psychiatric manual called for the condition to
be renamed “intellectual developmental disorder.” Critics blasted the proposal because it was inconsistent with the more
commonly accepted term “intellectual disability” which has already been adopted
in many federal and state laws.
Now it appears that the American Psychiatric Association heard the
complaints. In newly-released documents, officials from the psychiatrists’ group
stopped short of revealing the final text for the manual, but now say the
version slated for publication in May will replace “mental retardation” with
“intellectual disability.” The move is an effort to align with the American
Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the U.S. Department
of Education and other groups, the psychiatric association said.
The new term with be appended with a notation about “intellectual
developmental disorder” in order to be congruent with language expected in an
upcoming revision of the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, a
guide to diseases and disorders published by the World Health Organization.
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After Criticism, DSM Committee Changes Course