JOPLIN, MO.--- Tania Bowman's 6 year old son, Niko, was diagnosed with Aspergers at an early age.
"I started suspecting when he was Three and a half and then he was having difficulties in school, in Pre-School, and Pre-K. Then we got an official diagnosis," states Tania Bowman, Local Autism Advocate.
A recent change to the American Psychiatric Association's Manual of Mental Disorders or "DSM" will soon make this and several other diagnostic terms obsolete.
"One of the changes that has been made for the DSM 5 is that all of those disorders will now just be called Autism Spectrum Disorder," states Jennifer Kirby, Freeman's Leffen Center for Autism.
It's a change local Autism advocates like Niko's mom welcomes.
"We fully support that word, we think it really describes the wide diversity of abilities and challenges that the individuals of the spectrum face, and I think it really serves to remind us all that we are in this together and that we should work together to support and educate from within," states Bowman.
Families with Autism aren't the only ones who will be affected by this change. Schools use DSM terms to describe and structure special education programs. Some insurance companies use the terms in this manual to determine rates.
"It's not going to mean that people who have Aspergers Syndrome will have no diagnosis in May when the new guidelines take effect, it simply means that going forward Autism Spectrum Disorders will be diagnosed under these new guidelines," states Kirby.
Guidelines the Bowman family believes will help unite families and children who are living with Autism.
"That terminology really helps bring the community together. I think it lets families know that we are not stuck over her by ourselves or we are not stuck over her by ourselves, we're all in this experience together," states Kirby.
This will be the organization's 5th revision of its manual of mental disorders, and the first major revision in 20 years.