Concordance between a US Educational Autism Classification and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

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TitleConcordance between a US Educational Autism Classification and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMaddox, BB, Rump, KM, Stahmer, AC, Suhrheinrich, J, Rieth, SR, Nahmias, AS, Nuske, HJ, Reisinger, EM, Crabbe, SR, Bronstein, B, others,
JournalJournal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

States in the United States differ in how they determine special education eligibility for autism services. Few states include an autism-specific diagnostic tool in their evaluation. In research, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS for first edition, ADOS-2 for second edition) is considered the gold-standard autism assessment. The purpose of this study was to estimate the proportion of children with an educational classification of autism who exceed the ADOS/ADOS-2 threshold for autism spectrum (concordance rate). Data were drawn from 4 school-based studies across 2 sites (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and San Diego, California). Participants comprised 627 children (2–12 years of age; 83% male) with an autism educational classification. Analyses included (a) calculating the concordance rate between educational and ADOS/ADOS-2 classifications and (b) estimating the associations between concordance and child’s cognitive ability, study site, and ADOS/ADOS-2 administration year using logistic regression. More San Diego participants (97.5%, all assessed with the ADOS-2) met ADOS/ADOS-2 classification than did Philadelphia participants assessed with the ADOS-2 (92.2%) or ADOS (82.9%). Children assessed more recently were assessed with the ADOS-2; this group was more likely to meet ADOS/ADOS-2 classification than the group assessed longer ago with the ADOS. Children with higher IQ were less likely to meet ADOS/ADOS-2 classification. Most children with an educational classification of autism meet ADOS/ADOS-2 criteria, but results differ by site and by ADOS version and/or recency of assessment. Educational classification may be a reasonable but imperfect measure to include children in community-based trials.