To understand if recent changes to the diagnostic criteria for autism would affect the number of children who receive a diagnosis. The study also tested whether certain characteristics, like age, intellectual ability, or gender, would affect the chances of meeting criteria.
Methods - Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
The study included 439 children and adolescents who were evaluated for autism using both the old and new versions of the diagnostic criteria. All children received comprehensive evaluations, including measures of autism symptoms, intellectual ability (IQ), and emotional and behavioral functioning.
Results – Main Finding(s)
Most children (89%) who met criteria on the old version continued to meet criteria on the new version. This shows that the diagnosis for most children referred for evaluation will not be affected by these changes. In the cases where the two versions did not align, most were diagnosed under the older version but not the newer. Children who were older, girls, and those with higher intellectual abilities and less obvious symptoms were less likely to meet criteria on the new version.
Conclusion – Summary Statement
Although most children will not be affected by these diagnostic changes, those with less clear symptoms may no longer meet criteria for ASD on the new version. This may be especially true for girls, older children, and those with stronger intellectual abilities.