Key Findings: Using standardized diagnostic instruments to classify children with autism to help find causes of the disorder
- Thus far, over 2,600 children enrolled in SEED completed a clinic visit and were classified as having ASD or not having ASD. The SEED method classified more than 700 children with ASD based on a combination of symptoms reported by the parent on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and observed by a clinician on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), which are the best diagnostic tools available for ASD.
- The way children were classified with ASD in SEED has several advantages compared to other classification methods. For example, the SEED method:
- Had a good balance of sensitivity (meaning children with ASD were correctly identified as having the condition) and specificity (meaning children without ASD were correctly identified as not having the condition);
- Allowed researchers to create well-defined groups of children who may experience different symptoms or who may develop in different ways;
- Identified more children with ASD, including children with very low mental age; and
- Offered ways to resolve differences between parent report of symptoms and clinical observation of symptoms.
- Overall, the findings support the use of the SEED method for classifying children with ASD when creating well-defined groups of children, which can be important for guiding the treatment process or research design.
- Researchers can use the SEED classification method to learn more about ASD and its complex causes and associated symptoms to help children and families.
About This Analysis
- Describe how children are classified with ASD in SEED using standardized diagnostic instruments,
- Determine whether certain ASD symptoms are reported by parents when a clinical observation indicates ASD but parent report does not indicate ASD, and
- Examine whether the SEED method accurately identifies children with and without ASD.
- CDC’s Study to Explore Early Development: www.cdc.gov/SEED
- An in-depth look at the scientific methods used in CDC’s Study to Explore Early Development: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22350336
- Screening and diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/screening.html