Autism diagnosis change questioned by York University study

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the tome doctors use to diagnose mental disorders, is set to change the way doctors diagnose autism, a spectrum of developmental delays that affect one in 88 children. Since a draft of the changes was first revealed, controversy has bubbled over whether some children will no longer qualify and, as a result, be stripped of access to social services. Still, when York psychology professor Adrienne Perry helped Azin Taheri, a York University undergraduate student, design a study to look at how the new DSM-5 criteria mapped out onto kids who already had autism, Perry expected most children to fit the new diagnosis, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 2. “But that was not the way it turned out,” she said. The York study looked at case histories of 131 children aged 2 to 12. All had either autism or “pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified” (PDD-NOS), two of the current subcategories. None had Asperger’s. Eighty-one per cent of the children diagnosed with autism using the old criteria also qualified for the new diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. But only 17 per cent of the PDD-NOS kids did. Many more kids with low IQs fit the new description than those with high IQs. Read full story

Schulich: The world is not enough
This year, Dezsö Horváth became the longest-serving dean of any Canadian business school. From a relatively sedate program on a quiet campus in north Toronto when he was appointed in 1988, he has built Schulich into one – if global rankings are to believed – that rivals the world’s best.
Long before globalization passed from buzzword to business fact, Horváth was preaching its virtues. And that, more than anything, explains the path he has taken Schulich down. On the day he interviewed for his job in 1988, he says he told the hiring committee one thing: “If you choose me, you choose the global marketplace.” And choose it they did. Given where the Schulich School is today, it’s hard to argue they made the wrong pick, reported Canadian Business magazine Oct. 31. Read full story

Former Aurora mayor’s lawsuit dubbed SLAPP
Liberal Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi has tabled legislation intended to protect Ontarians from strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) actions.  The bill, if passed, is intended to allow citizens and community groups to advocate on matters of public or political interest without fear of lawsuits launched to keep them quiet, reported news Nov. 2. Last week, a Toronto court awarded $21,275 in legal costs to Aurora’s Richard Johnson and former councillor Bill Hogg in connection with former mayor Phyllis Morris’ $6-million defamation suit, which was discontinued on Oct. 17. 2011. Mrs. Morris wanted to hit Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hogg and Elizabeth Bishenden quickly and hard to silence them as her critics sooner rather than later in the weeks leading up to the municipal election, Ontario Superior Court master Thomas Hawkins wrote, concluding the action was SLAPP litigation. Law professor and York University Osgoode Hall Law School associate dean Kate Sutherland says the decision is very important because the inclusion of enhanced costs due to the SLAPP decision is unique, she said, but it doesn’t really go far enough to address the kind of stress a person lives with when they have a multi-million dollar lawsuit hanging over their head. Read full story.

Toronto Law Firm aims to fingerprint non-union staff
A group of legal secretaries at a Toronto corporate law firm is rebelling online against a plan that would see them fingerprinted when they come and go at work. The firm is planning to implement fingerprint reading technology at its offices this month, to address complaints about employees who were taking excessively long lunch breaks or cutting out early from work, reported the Huffington Post Nov. 1. “I suspect that the vast majority of workers will find forced fingerprinting by their employer to be offensive. Certainly, [I] suspect highly qualified legal secretaries won’t be rushing to come work at this firm now,” York University labour professor David Doorey wrote on his blog. Doorey notes that fingerprinting workers could violate work contracts if those work contracts stipulate some measure of privacy. But he suggested legal recourse could be sparse for the employees. Read full story.