Friday, December 30, 2011

Sites Differ in How They Diagnose Autism, Supporting Need for DSM Revisions

Clinical centers with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of autism differ dramatically in how they diagnose children with autism symptoms, according to a report published online November 7 in the Archives of General Psychiatry. A large multisite study found significant differences in how clinical centers assigned three diagnoses— autism, Asperger’s, or PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified)—to children with autism symptoms. Moreover, relationships between clinical diagnoses and standardized scores, particularly verbal IQ, language level, and core diagnostic features, varied across sites.

The results support revisions to the criteria for autism proposed by APA's DSM-5 Work Group on Neurodevelopmental Disorders, including the creation of a single diagnostic entity—autism spectrum disorder—and the incorporation of dimensional measures of severity for associated features such as IQ, social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors.

For more information about autism see Psychiatric News here and here.

(Image: ZouZou/