Tracking autism: ‘Recalibrated’ test may better reflect progression over time

autism spectrum disorder managing behaviour
Credit: Raising Children

A recalibrated version of a widely used test for autism may accurately reflect autistic children’s development as they grow and become verbal, according to a new study. The revised test identifies worsening autism traits in a subgroup of children who would not otherwise have been flagged for the condition. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is one of the standard tests for autism.

But ADOS scores are not consistent across these modules because of, for example, the natural development of language. This mismatch may prevent doctors from accurately tracking children over time and cause them to miss opportunities for intervention, says So Hyun Kim.

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Instead of using the raw ADOS scores, Kim’s team used a statistically calibrated version called Calibrated Severity Scores (CSS). This scale measures autism severity independent of characteristics that change over time, such as language and cognition; it provides standard scores from 1 to 10 for core autism features at each age and language level.

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“When comparing children from one time point to another point, we are more sure the changes are not driven by changes in aging or language, but by the underlying autism,” Kim says. “It can allow more valid comparisons across modules.”

Read full, original post: Revised test offers reliable way to track autism over time

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