Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tantrums trick autism tests

Sorting autism from other developmental conditions is no simple matter. Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, can be particularly tough to tell apart. And a new study suggests that even the gold-standard tests for diagnosing autism are not a foolproof solution to this problem1.
Some children with low intelligence or behavioral issues — but not autism — meet the cutoff for autism on these tests. The findings, published 27 September in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, highlight the limitations of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule(ADOS), the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS).
We asked Somer Bishop and Alexandra Havdahl, the researchers who led the study, why these tests are not specific for autism and what this means for clinicians making the diagnosis.