The Last Chance for Inclusion of Sensory Processing Disorder in the DSM-5

Please allow me to share a letter that I (and any who subscribe to the SPD Foundation Newsletter) received recently from Dr. Lucy Jane Miller…and be sure…there’s more to come!

From the Desk of Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D.

The last chance for inclusion of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in the DSM-5 has arrived.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has announced the third and final opportunity for public feedback.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is coordinating a final comment campaign to show the APA there is widespread, informed support for the inclusion of SPD in the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), to be published in 2013.

There are many points of view that our board and the STAR and SPDF teams can bring to the comment process – as a researcher, clinician, parent, physician, author, or private citizen who just plain knows and cares about Sensory Processing Disorder.

The deadline for commenting is JUNE 15, so please act now even if you have sent in comments in the past. YOUR letter will make a difference.

We were advised by DSM staff members to submit only one subtype this time around. Therefore we selected Sensory Over-Responsivity to submit for inclusion. That is the subtype that has the most empirical support since the Scientific Work Group is focusing on that one SPD subtype.

Just to clarify, there are three possibilities for inclusion in the DSM. We likely will not be included as a separate new diagnostic category. The second way is to be included as a characteristic under another category. We likely will be included as one of several criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Having hyper and hypo sensory responsivity included as associated features in Autistic Spectrum Disorders is a big step indeed and one we have been working toward for a decade! However, it does not satisfy the urgent need to have SPD recognized as a disorder in its own right.

The third way to be included is as a novel diagnosis in need of research, and this last option is what we have been working toward since this initiative began in 1995.

You’ll find step-by-step instructions for using the comment area of the American Psychiatric Association site on the comment page of our website, along with some possible topics/language to use when writing your remarks. Use our suggestions or don’t – it doesn’t matter. What matters is commenting. The most persuasive comments will be the ones that provide concrete, evidence-based information and/or observation based on personal or clinical experience.

And please help us pass the word! Forward this message or send your personal request with the link to DSM Central or the comment page to your colleagues, physicians, client families, friends – anyone in a position to make an informed comment on the value of recognizing Sensory Processing Disorder in the DSM-5. If you have a website, blog, or social networking page, those are great places to get the word out, too. The more people who comment supportively, the better.

You have played a central role in helping us reach this point. Please participate in the final push. Comment today!

With thanks and warmest personal regards,

Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
Founder and Executive Director
Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

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