Development of a Brief Parent-Report Screen for Common Gastrointestinal Disorders in Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Jan;49(1):349-362. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3767-7.


Gastrointestinal dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is common and associated with problem behaviors. This study describes the development of a brief, parent-report screen that relies minimally upon the child's ability to report or localize pain for identifying children with ASD at risk for one of three common gastrointestinal disorders (functional constipation, functional diarrhea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease). In a clinical sample of children with ASD, this 17-item screen identified children having one or more of these disorders with a sensitivity of 84%, specificity of 43%, and a positive predictive value of 67%. If found to be valid in an independent sample of children with ASD, the screen will be useful in both clinical practice and research.

Keywords: Autism; Behavior; Comorbidities; GI; Gastrointestinal; Screen.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Health Surveys / methods*
  • Health Surveys / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents