The study and practice of psychology reflect the diverse historical theories and movements utilized to understand and address the issues surrounding human development. Several of the earlier approaches are presently more significant and the influences of many new multidisciplinary fields have come into play. As a result, older and more contemporary assumptions, concepts, and knowledge give shape to a dynamic and lively discipline.

The following are philosophical premises that I think are essential:
  • Psychological problems stem from multiple causes that must be considered if we are truly to understand, prevent and ameliorate such problems.
  • Normal and abnormal behavior go hand-in-hand and we must study one in order to understand the other.
  • The complexity of human behavior calls for systematic conceptualization, observation, data collection, and hypothesis testing.
  • Continued efforts are needed to construct and verify treatment and prevention programs.
  • Whether in treatment, prevention or research settings, young people have the right to high-quality care that is sensitive to their developmental level, family role and societal status.
  • Advocacy for the well-being of youth is crucial, particularly because of their lack of maturity and susceptibility to the influences of their social landscape.
Health Science:
Broadly speaking, health science is the scientific research of health and health-related issues. Due to the overarching nature of health science the field and study are interdisciplinary and contains many sub-disciplines. By no means a comprehensive list here is a few major disciplines under health science. The highlighted sub-disciplines are the areas I have experience in.

  • Clinical Physiology
  • Dentistry & Dental surgery
  • Dietetics
  • Geriatrics
  • Health Informatics
  • Home- & Community-based Healthcare
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Physical fitness
  • Physical Therapy
  • Primary care
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Radiology
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social Work
  • Speech and Language Pathology
It is easier to conceptualize Health Science as a cluster of five pathways: 
  • Biotechology Research and Development, 
  • Health Informatics,
  • Diagnostic Services,
  • Support Services, and 
  • Therapeutic Services. 
While health science is concerned with validating health-related knowledge, methods and interventions the application of such knowledge would be considered healthcare. Careers within this field cover a large area of prevention- and treatment-focused professions including public health, environmental health, health and fitness educators, medical professionals, pharmacists, nurses, PT/OT/SLP therapists, etc.

What is Autism?:
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are behavioral-neurological disorders, typically diagnosed before the age of three, that profoundly affect the child’s ability to communicate, develop language, form social relationships, and respond appropriately to environmental stimuli. Repetitive, stereotypical, and sometimes even self-injurious behaviors are a common part of the clinical picture. The child's primary caregivers are usually the first to notice signs of ASD. As early as infancy, a child may be unresponsive to caregivers or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. They may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement. They may additionally fail to respond to their names and avoid eye contact and joint attention. Individuals with ASD have difficulty interpreting the feelings or thoughts of other.

DSM-5 and DSM-IV-TR Comparisons:
Recently there has been much controversy within the communities touched by and who deal with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. The American Psychiatric Association updated their diagnostic and statistical manual to a revision that consolidates various pervasive developmental disabilities into a single diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorders. Two big questions these communities are facing are 1) whether this latest revision will eliminate their current clinical diagnosis and 2) whether the elimination of specific diagnoses (e.g., Asperger's Syndrome) from the present psychological lexicon will also eliminate components of personal and cultural identity from individuals and communities who identify as Aspie or Aspergergian.

The first question is easier to address than the second. Those who have been diagnosed with any of the previous diagnoses will continue to have the notation in their medical/psychological records. They will not lose their diagnosis. Developmental disabilities are chronic disabilities; therefore, it is generally understood that these symptoms are lifelong. Those individuals who have an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis will rarely be called upon to be re-diagnosed (this is different than obtaining a physician or psychologist re-certification).

The second question of personal and cultural identity speaks more to social constructs. It is obvious that the Aspie/Aspergergian community will be challenged by this change. Although, what is ultimately made out of it will be reliant upon the fortitude and perseverance of its membership.

The APA Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Division 33) released a statement regarding the recent changes to the previous PDD category.