Early Identification of ASD Through Telemedicine: Potential Value for Underserved Populations

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Aug;48(8):2601-2610. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3524-y.


Increasing access to diagnostic services is crucial for identifying ASD in young children. We therefore evaluated a telemedicine assessment procedure. First, we compared telediagnostic accuracy to blinded gold-standard evaluations (n = 20). ASD cases identified via telemedicine were confirmed by in-person evaluation. However, 20% of children diagnosed with ASD in-person were not diagnosed via telemedicine. Second, we evaluated telediagnostic feasibility and acceptability in a rural catchment. Children (n = 45) and caregivers completed the telemedicine procedure and provided feedback. Families indicated high levels of satisfaction. Remote diagnostic clinicians diagnosed 62% of children with ASD, but did not feel capable of ruling-in or out ASD in 13% of cases. Findings support preliminary feasibility, accuracy, and clinical utility of telemedicine-based assessment of ASD for young children.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Diagnosis; Telemedicine; Young children.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Population
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Vulnerable Populations / psychology