Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders in pre-school children using two standardised assessment instruments: the ADI-R and the ADOS

J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Feb;38(2):362-72. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0403-3. Epub 2007 Jun 29.


The reliable diagnosis of Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder in pre-school children is important for access to early intervention and for accurate ascertainment for research. This paper explores the combined use of two standardised assessment instruments--the Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)--in a large sample of pre-school children. The children were recruited to research studies, and a 'best estimate' clinical diagnosis reached. The findings show good agreement between the instruments especially for children with core Autism. The instruments appear to have a complementary effect in aiding diagnosis and confirm the importance of a multidisciplinary assessment process with access to information from different sources and settings. The presence of repetitive behaviours during the ADOS appeared of diagnostic significance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Development Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Behavior
  • Stereotyped Behavior