Asperger's categorization among others to change in DSM V ?

DSM V Draft

The last update to medical disorder descriptions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, more widely known as the DSM IV, was in 1994 and many believe revisions are past due given the accumulating research in the field. On February 10, 2010, Neal Conan of NPR's Talk of the Nation interviewed Dr. David Kupfer, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and chair of the DSM-V task force, regarding proposed changes in description of some medical disorders, including bi-polar disorders in children and Asperger's.

According to Dr. Kupfer,"...there's been a tremendous amount of research since that time. There's also been, I think, a clarity with respect to the fact that a number of diagnoses did really not work well in real-life practice, and why were patients being diagnosed as often with NOS, not otherwise specified." In addition, Dr. Kupfer offered examples,"...for example, DSM-IV used the term mental retardation. There are important changes in the use of that term, and language is important. And so, for example, not only will we propose the use of
'intellectual disability", but we've included a number of criteria changes there to be more precise with when that diagnosis is appropriate."

Neil Conan asked Jon Hamilton, NPR's science correspondent, about other revisions such as the re-categorization of Asperger's disorder. Hamilton, who had reviewed the new draft said,..."it will be called the autism spectrum disorder, and it includes not just Asperger's but several other what used to be sort of sub-categories of autism. And as Dr. Kupfer was saying though, the point here is to try to put things that are similar into one category and then worry about severity of the symptoms rather than in having all these different buckets to put things in."

Many parents and professional have concerns about maintaining services based on changing diagnosis criteria and how insurance companies might react. The current draft has been put out for comment and revisions will not take effect until after public and professionals respond. DSM V will then be published in 1013.

For the full NPR article go to:
Also Note: The new DSM-5 Web site, which includes proposed revisions and draft diagnostic criteria, is now available at According to the APA, "May 2013 will mark one the most anticipated events in the mental health field." Visitors can log in to comment on the draft.

Vegetative State Patient Responds to Questions

NIA Public Domain Sketch

The play Wings by Arthur Kopit gave many of us pause regarding the assumed level of communicative awareness of stroke and or comatose patients and how one might reach them. We've long been dependent on external physical indicators of response to our attempts to communicate. For those who were semi or unconscious, that was not an option.

According to Fergus Walsh, Medical correspondent for BBC News "Scientists have been able to reach into the mind of a brain-damaged man and communicate with his thoughts. The British scientists said they could communicate with a patient who has not shown any sign of outward consciousness for five years. They used a new brain scanning technique to 'talk' to the 29 year old Belgian man who damaged his brain in a car accident and has been classified as being in a vegetative state. The patient was able to communicate "yes" and "no" using just his thoughts during a research conducted by a team from Cambridge University. Dr Adrian Owen, who led the team and co-authored of the research article said "this is a rare case...This changes things". The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. For the full BBC article, go to:

Kate Ingmundson's, '86, band Sister Merry Harmony gives free concert

Sister Merry Harmony would like to thank their fans for coming to the Cannon Mine for a wonderful show on January 16th!

Kate writes, "We could not have done it without you! And now, a special announcement:

Feeling a little light in the wallet?
Pinching the ol' pennies?
Getting in touch with your inner tightwad?
Well, Sister Merry Harmony has the cure for what ails you (and everybody else too)!

The Recession Special performance...It's free, free, free!

EH? Sister Merry Harmony is doing a 45 minute opening show for Cannon Mine's open mic. After we are done, a bunch of other musicians show up and play short sets. No door, no tips. Just come have some fun! Without you, it wouldn't be a show!"

When? Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010, from 7:00 pm to 7:45 pm

Where? Cannon Mine Coffee, corner of South Public Road and Cannon in Lafayette.

Please check out our MySpace site at:

You can view it , and listen to some of our songs, even if you are not a myspace member.

Anybody Tried LinguiSystems' Free Online CEUs?

Founded in 1977, LinguiSystems was the first company to be founded and operated by speech-language pathologists. According to their website, they "vowed to always have the products you need and the tests you want, to guarantee them forever, and to give you the service you deserve".

Ever since, their "mission has been to provide innovative, effective, affordable, and therapeutically-sound materials for speech-language pathologists", including:

* authors who are experts in their field
* speech pathology editorial staff
* design experts who understand the needs of the youngest and oldest client
* field-tested and research-based content

In addition to a variety of products that help educate professionals and prepare them for exams, they offer
FREE Online Continuing Education courses. Course topics include attention disorders, evidence-based practice, intervention strategies for ELL, and courses on a variety of disorders. They also have free material samples and demos for downloading. Have you taken advantage of their free CEU's? If so, sign in and tell us about it at the bottom of this blog.

For more information on LinguiSystems free CEUs go to

2010 Metro Speech-Language Symposium Conference

On January 29-30, the 2010 Metro Speech-Language Symposium Conference, titled Partners in Progress, will be held in Littleton, Colorado at the Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows.

Keynote Speakers this year include Drs, Roanne and Alejandro Brice and Dr. Diane Frome Loeb. The Keynote presentation will cover intervention strategies for ELL students as well as school-aged language interventions. The new Colorado Severity Rating Scale will also be presented.

For more information visit or call 1-800-686-2767 (toll free) or 303-925-0004

Metro Speech Language Network's general website is

Are Children Altruistic by Nature? Biologists Say Yes

Altruism within?

According to an article By NICHOLAS WADE, published November 30, 2009 in the NY Times, children might be altrusitc by Nature.

The somewhat surprising answer at which some biologists have arrived is that babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. Of course every animal must to some extent be selfish to survive. But the biologists also see in humans a natural willingness to help.

Michael Tomasello expands upon this theory in his book “Why We Cooperate,” published in October. Dr. Tomasello, a developmental psychologist, is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Dr. Tomasello finds the helping is not enhanced by rewards, suggesting that it is not influenced by training. It seems to occur across cultures that have different timetables for teaching social rules. And helping behavior can even be seen in infant chimpanzees under the right experimental conditions.

“It’s probably safe to assume that they haven’t been explicitly and directly taught to do this,” said Elizabeth Spelke, a developmental psychologist at Harvard. “On the other hand, they’ve had lots of opportunities to experience acts of helping by others. I think the jury is out on the innateness question.”

For full article see:

2009 ASHA Convention Winds Down

ASHA Convention Program Cover '09

After a return to New Orleans as convention central, ASHA is winding down their 2009 convention with final sessions and celebrations. As usual, a strong program was scheduled and included The Katharine G. Butler Symposium, sponsored by the Specialty Board on Child Language Advances in Research, titled Identification and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Young Children, ASHA fund rasiers, and special NSSLA "Knowledge Bowls" with prizes. For details, see the following website and watch for the 2009 session archives to be added as they become electronically available.

Kathe Perez,'86 blogged about her experience at ASHA this year. Read it at
We'd love to hear about other alumni experience at the convention. Just log in and add your comment below.

ASHA Has YouTube Web Channel

Since January, 2007 ASHA has maintained a YouTube Channel where they post videos pertaining to the field. As of Oct. 20, 2008, the main video posting was a welcome to the 2009 ASHA convention in New Orleans to be held November 19-21 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (see video below)

To access the ASHAWeb YouTube website go to:

Interested in improving SLP description on Wikipedia?

Do you have an excellent overview of the SLP field or...have you just finished your exit exams and want to share your expansive knowledge while it's fresh? Wikipedia, the amazing "peoples" internet encyclopedia which is developed by users has a page on Speech and Language Pathology. Unfortunately, it's incomplete. They state; "This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can." Would be a great project for graduate students! Here's the website:

How Wikipedia (pronounced /ˌwiːkiˈpiːdiə/ or /ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/)sees itself: It is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions. The name "Wikipedia" is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative Web site) and encyclopedia.

In a letter from the developers they releal that "330 million people use Wikipedia every month, making it the world's most frequently used online knowledge resource. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have built and maintained the different Wikimedia projects in the last eight years." See the full letter calling for experts and planner at:

US Senate considers the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (ATAA)

Photos from Autism Votes Flyer

Autism Speaks has a Major Ad Campaign Aimed at Urging Congressional Support for Autism Insurance Reform. The Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (ATAA) is under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Legislation to cover autism treatment has been considered and passed in many states. RDI Connect is also encouraging involvement and states that "the legislation mandates insurance coverage for behavioral treatments for autism, but does not specify coverage for other valuable, evidence-based interventions, including the category of cognitive-developmental interventions". RDI connect writes, "The ATAA currently is being considered for 'markups' (language changes) by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. During this time there is something that we can do to make an impact. Members of the Championing RDI group have put together a petition that can be accessed by anyone online, The petition includes a wonderful document citing the evidence for RDI practices. The signature section has a place for brief comments, where each signer can add a few words from the heart." They enourage you to "take the time to look at the petition, read the comments and then add some of your own!"

For further ATAA history, fact sheet, legislative contacts, and a flyer you can download, see the Autism Votes website below:

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