Monday, May 16, 2011

Autism Diagnosis: Who has what, and why?

By John Elder Robison from My Life With Asperger's - Psychology Today

Are Asperger's, Autism, and PDD-NOS all the same?

I listened to a very interesting talk today from Catherine Lord, one of the creators of the ADOS test. ADOS is kind of the "gold standard" diagnostic test for autism, and she's a well-respected figure in the world of autism diagnosis, so I jumped at the chance to hear her thoughts on where we're headed in that regard.

In the autism world, people who are given a diagnosis are told they have one of three conditions: Autism, Asperger's, or PDD-NOS. The big question is, who should be diagnosed with what? Is there a coherent sense of classification, or is it merely arbitrary or random? She reviewed the diagnostic data for several thousand spectrumites in an effort to determine what caused a person to end up in one of those three categories.

To her surprise, after analyzing the data, she found the principal predictive factor had nothing to do with the individual. Looking at records from a number of good university hospitals, she found places who called almost everyone Asperger, and other places where everyone was PDD-NOS. There was no discernible pattern of variation between individuals; they seemed to simply get different diagnoses in different places.

Read complete article HERE.

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