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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

About the new diagnostic criteria... from NIH

New Autism Criteria Will Have Minor Impact: Study

Most children should still be eligible for care, researchers say
By Robert Preidt
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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TUESDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Parents should not worry that proposed changes to the criteria for diagnosing autism might leave their child ineligible for care, a new study indicates.
Researchers assessed the impact of the proposed changes, which were developed by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association and are expected to take effect in May 2013.
Previous research had suggested that 45 percent or more of children who currently qualify for a diagnosis of autism would not under the new criteria. Those findings caused widespread concern among parents who depend on state-financed health services for their children, The New York Times reported.
However, this latest study concluded that only 10 percent of these children would be excluded under the new criteria.
"I know that parents worry, but I don't believe there is any substantial reason to fear that children who need to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and provided with vital services, will not be included in the new criteria in this updated manual," said study senior investigator Dr. Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Westchester campus, along with its affiliated medical schools Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The study is the largest to date to try to determine the effects of the new diagnostic criteria for autism. It was published in the Oct. 1 issue of theAmerican Journal of Psychiatry.
Lord and her colleagues looked at 4,453 children currently diagnosed with autism and found that 91 percent of them would still qualify for the diagnosis under the proposed new criteria. Many of the remaining 9 percent would likely qualify with additional input from their doctors, the study added.
The proposed changes are designed to better identify autism and to distinguish it from other conditions, the researchers said.
The overall issue with the current criteria is "not that a lot of people are diagnosed with autism who shouldn't be, but that there is a lot of confusion because the criteria were not very accurate," Lord, who was a member of the panel that proposed the new criteria, said in a hospital news release.
She explained that in developing the new criteria, the panel "deliberately added and organized things to try to bring in and better address the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) of all developmental levels and ages -- including girls, who were not represented as well as they should be in" the current criteria.
The goal of the new criteria "is to better describe who has ASD in a way that matches up with what we know from research, which predicts who has the disorder and also reflects what clinicians are actually looking at," Lord said.
Autism spectrum disorders cover a range of complex neurodevelopmental conditions that are characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties and restricted, repetitive, and stereotypical behavior patterns, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
An estimated one in 88 American children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College, news release, Oct. 1, 2012
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A prescription for peace...

I received this devotional yesterday and I thought it was just too perfect NOT to post. I hope you will find it helpful in your journey!

Tracie Miles
October 2, 2012
By Tracie Miles

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Despite attempts for more than a year to figure out what was wrong with me, doctors could not identify a serious medical condition. It's not that I wanted something to be wrong. I certainly didn't need anything else to stress about. I was desperately seeking a prescription for peace.

Looking back I can see the main culprit for my stress was my job. Overwhelming expectations and the impossible perfectionism my supervisor demanded took their toll on me physically, emotionally and spiritually. His harsh criticisms and comments made me feel inadequate, and my self-esteem plunged to an all-time low. Chaos swirled around me, stress raged within me, and my health continued to decline. But I didn't recognize the cause.
When a medical diagnosis continued to elude doctors, I believed the lie that excessive stress was normal and I needed to learn how to live with it.

Eventually my stress reached a dangerously high level, and I began to wonder if this was the way God intended life to be. I wasn't even sure if the Bible talked about stress, but I was desperate, so I searched God's Word for answers. Something had to end, and I didn't want it to be my life. I came across Philippians 4:6-7. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

Although I had read these verses before, it was as if a light bulb came on. I was tired of worrying. I was yearning for my heart and mind to be protected and healed. I was longing to control my stress, instead of it controlling me. And I was desperate for peace.
As the words of these verses washed through my soul, I realized I'd been depending on people to diagnose my problems instead of seeking a remedy from God. Going from doctor to doctor, I had overlooked the only One who had a prescription that could heal — Jesus Christ.

As I prayed for the ability to stop worrying and spent more time processing my stress with God, I thanked Him for His provision of my job. And I asked if it was time for me to leave. I needed to be rescued and admitted He was the only One with the power to do so. I committed to trusting His ways, even if I didn't understand them. Peace didn't come overnight, but it did come. Not because my circumstances changed, but because I tapped into His peace each day in the midst of less-than-peaceful circumstances. Gradually I felt God mend my heart and replace my stress with His truth and love. And when He made it clear after a few months that I was to resign, I was equipped to handle the new stressors that came with that decision.

If you need a prescription for peace, I encourage you to let your thoughts dwell on God's promises and rest in His presence as you pray. Ask Him to help you release your worry. Praise Him for the good things He's done, and talk to Him about the problems you're struggling with. Seek God's will for every area of your life and commit to trust Him enough to make changes as He nudges you. True peace comes when we trust God and seek rest in Him, not when life is conflict-free. A daily dose of God's presence and promises is the best prescription for peace.

Dear Lord, I am stressed. I know I need a change in my life, and I am ready for the prescription for peace that only You can offer. Fill me today with a dose of serenity that I cannot find anywhere else but in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?
Today's devotion is based on Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles which releases today! If you purchase the book before October 7th you'll receive 7 GREAT FREE GIFTS to further help with managing stress! Click here for more info.
Visit Tracie's blog to sign up for her free "10 Day Stress Detox" and enter to win a copy of her new book, Stressed-Less Living!
Would you like to bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out how to bring Tracie's Stressed-Lessed Living to your next event.
Reflect and Respond:
How can you trust God in your circumstances and receive His prescription for peace instead of handling problems in your own strength?
Ask God if you need to make changes in your life. If so, pray about the next steps.
Power Verses:
Psalm 107:19, "'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." (NLT)
John 14:27, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (NLT)