Brief report: validity of Finnish registry-based diagnoses of autism with the ADI-R

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Sep;99(9):1425-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01835.x.


Aims: The aim of the study was to explore the validity of registry-based diagnoses of autism in Finland using the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised (ADI-R). This study was designed for the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (FIPS-A), an ongoing research project where registry-based diagnoses will be used for epidemiological studies.

Methods: In this small pilot study, a clinical sample of 95 subjects diagnosed with childhood autism or pervasive developmental disorder/pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD/PDD-NOS) or Asperger's syndrome according to the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register (FHDR) was gathered nationwide. A small control group consisting of siblings without any registered diagnoses of those being examined was also included in the study. Diagnoses were further re-evaluated by interviewing parents with the ADI-R.

Results: The mean scores of autistic subjects clearly exceeded cut-off limits for autism on all three ADI-R domains and 96% of the subjects with registered diagnosis of childhood autism fulfilled the criteria based on the instrument as well.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the validity of Finnish registry-based diagnoses of childhood autism can be considered good. Our findings lay important groundwork for further population- based studies of the aetiology of autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Asperger Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / diagnosis*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / epidemiology
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results