Brief report: An exploratory study of the diagnostic reliability for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published February 2017


Previous research shows inconsistency in clinician-assigned diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We conducted an exploratory study that examined the concordance of diagnoses between a multidisciplinary assessment team and a range of independent clinicians throughout Australia. Nine video-taped Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) assessments were collected from two Australian sites. Twenty-seven Australian health professionals each observed two video-recordings and rated the degree to which the individual met the DSM-5 criteria for ASD. There was 100% agreement on the diagnostic classification for only 3 of the 9 video clips (33%), with the remaining 6 clips (66%) reaching poor reliability. In addition, only 24% of the participating clinicians achieved ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ levels of agreement (Cohen’s kappa > 0.6) with the original ASD assessment. These findings have implications for clinical guidelines for ASD assessments.
Taylor, L.J., Eapen, V., Maybery, M., Midford, M., Paynter, J., Quarmby, L., Smith, T., Williams, K., & Whitehouse, A.J.O. (2017). Brief report: An exploratory study of the diagnostic reliability for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(5), 1551–1558. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3054-z.

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