A research study conducted by Micah Mazurek, associate professor at the Curry School of Education and an autism expert, has been selected as one of the top 20 most important advances in autism research for 2017. This honor comes from the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (pdf). The IACC is a federal committee charged with coordinating federal efforts related to autism and providing advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on autism related issues.
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official handbook that health care professionals use to guide their diagnoses including autism, was updated to its 5th edition. In that revision, the diagnostic criteria for autism changed substantially. These changes resulted in considerable controversy. Mazurek’s study used both the 4th and 5th editions of the diagnostic manual to assess 439 children in an effort to better understand the implications of the revision. The study found that the new criteria are somewhat more stringent and precise. There was agreement between versions in most cases; however, children with subtle symptoms were less likely to meet criteria for autism on the new version.
“This recognition of Micah’s work is especially deserving. It is an excellent example of the impact that can happen when rigorous research meets real-world challenges,” said Bob Pianta, dean of the Curry School. “The value of this research cannot be overstated.”