The researchers found that diagnoses of specific categories of autism spectrum disorder varied dramatically from site to site across the country.
Clinicians across centers varied in how they weighed different factors and in the thresholds they set to make diagnoses. Although verbal IQ strongly influenced diagnoses at most centers, there were striking differences in the cutoff points used at each site to classify individuals into specific categories. The effect of age on diagnoses, and the specific age cutoff points, also varied dramatically across sites.
“This is an extremely important paper regarding our understanding of the various components of autism spectrum disorder from a group that has been crucial in defining the features of autism over many years,” says Dr. Gerald D. Fischbach, scientific director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. “They call attention to quantifiable traits rather than existing diagnostic categories.
Source: Science Daily
Precision matters. As the article notes, there has been controversy and skepticism about categorical groupings of autism spectrum disorders in standard diagnostic manuals. It’s an example of science being quantifiable and objective to the greatest extent possible. It appears this study will help aid towards more accurate catogorizations and, consequently, more appropriate treatment.