Doctors want to redefine autism; parents worried

LINDSEY TANNER AP Medical Writer Published:

CHICAGO (AP) -- For the first time in nearly two decades, experts are trying to rewrite the definition of autism.

And that worries some parents and specialists.

For many years, different autism-related labels have been used, including Asperger's disorder. Doctors working on the new definition want to dump the confusing labels and lump them all into one category called "autism spectrum disorder."

Some specialists think that will weed out many autistic kids. And parents of mildly affected children worry their children will lose access to special education.

A decision is expected by December. The new definition would then be added to the reference manual used by psychiatrists.