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JACKSONVILLE, FL, April 03, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Professional Development Resources is a national provider of continuing education (CE) home study courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and registered dietitians. Heading the list of vital clinical topics today is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which affects millions of families and demands early and aggressive intervention in the areas of language, behavior, and social skills.
In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Professional Development Resources is featuring its Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) courses during the month of April. The company is publicizing and offering special pricing on these courses in hopes of coming to the attention of health professionals who need this information.
According to the Autism Society, "Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a 'spectrum disorder' that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today."
Families who have a child with autism may face new challenges in 2013 when the long-awaited revised version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) is published. It is scheduled for release in May 2013. Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM is considered the "bible" of psychiatry because it establishes the criteria mental health professionals use to diagnose their patients. According to Clinical Psychiatry News (Feb. 6, 2013), the new autism requirements in the DSM5 will be more restrictive than those found in the current DSM-IV.
The intent is to make the diagnosis of autism more precise, but one of the real-life consequences will be that many individuals who are currently diagnosed with the condition may no longer qualify under the new criteria. An article published in CNN Health (Dec. 3, 2012) cited research predicting that at least 5% to 10% of patients will no longer meet the criteria for autism.
Other predictions are for much higher numbers. An article published in the journal Developmental Neurorehabilitation in June 2012, found that 47% fewer toddlers would be diagnosed under the DSM5 autism criteria than under the current DSM-IV criteria. Whether or not such projections prove to be accurate, there is widespread concern among parents and advocacy groups that individuals who are currently diagnosed and under treatment may lose their benefits.
While it may take several years for these diagnostic shifts to sort themselves out, it is important in the meantime for professionals who work with autistic individuals to monitor the situation closely. For its part, Professional Development Resources is planning to publicize its current autism CE courses and publish new ones as the DSM5 diagnostic criteria are phased in and new research becomes available.
"We are hoping to contribute to autism awareness among health and mental health professionals during the month of April by publicizing and featuring our continuing education courses that focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders," says Leo Christie, PhD, president of Professional Development Resources. "We have done this every April for the past few years and are pleased to reach more professionals each year."
About Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - as well as many other national and state boards - has focused its efforts on making accredited continuing education units more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.
Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.
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