Autism concerns

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 12:00am

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Half of Hong Kong's children currently diagnosed as autistic may be denied treatment following a major change to the clinical definition, concern groups warned.

Their fears come as the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, one of the most authoritative guides in diagnosing mental illnesses, is at the final stage of revising its definition of autism. The new definition is expected to be published next year.

Concern groups think some autistic patients could fall outside the definition and no longer be given treatment in public hospitals. Children might also miss out on the help they need and may be misunderstood as being 'naughty'.

The association says the new definition would give more focus to treatment.