Monday, March 28, 2016

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule

Among things that happened this week: Someone asked me (via a comment on Facebook appended to a public post), if a doctor had ever verified that I had autism.

To recap: my process of discovery with autism began in June 2007 when someone suggested to my husband that I had “Asperger’s syndrome.”

I self-diagnosed on the autism spectrum based on extensive readings about Asperger’s syndrome and about the autism continuum. My status was confirmed in February 2009 by a psychiatrist-researcher at the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute.

During that screening, I completed the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-G) — Module 4, a “semi-structured play session that is used to diagnose autism spectrum disorder.” My score was 10, which is above the autism spectrum “cut-off score” of 7.

The ADOS is recommended in several “best-practice” guidelines as an appropriate diagnostic tool. That’s according to “The Role of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule in the Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders in School and Community Settings” by Natacha Akshoomoff, Christina Corsello and Heather Schmidt (California School Psychol. 2006; 11:7-19).

It is “one of the few standardized diagnostic measures that involves scoring direct observations” of a subject’s interactions and with its various modules it “accounts for developmental level and age.” Modules 3 and 4 are designed for “older children and adults.”

To meet classification criteria, the subject’s score must meet or exceed the autism cut-off score, which my score of 10 certainly did.

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