Retention of autism spectrum diagnoses by community professionals: Findings from the autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 2000 and 2006

Lisa D. Wiggins, Jon Baio, Laura Schieve, Li Ching Lee, Joyce Nicholas, Catherine E. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Past research is inconsistent in the stability of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses. The authors therefore sought to examine the proportion of children identified from a population-based surveillance system that had a change in classification from ASD to non-ASD and factors associated with such changes. Methods: Children with a documented age of first ASD diagnosis noted in surveillance records by a community professional (n = 1392) were identified from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Children were considered to have a change in classification if an ASD was excluded after the age of first recorded ASD diagnosis. Child and surveillance factors were entered into a multivariable regression model to determine factors associated with diagnostic change. Results: Only 4% of our sample had a change in classification from ASD to non-ASD noted in evaluation records. Factors associated with change in classification from ASD to non-ASD were timing of first ASD diagnosis at 30 months or younger, onset other than developmental regression, presence of specific developmental delays, and participation in a special needs classroom other than autism at 8 years of age. Conclusions: Our results found that children with ASDs are likely to retain an ASD diagnosis, which underscores the need for continued services. Children diagnosed at 30 months or younger are more likely to experience a change in classification from ASD to non-ASD than children diagnosed at 31 months or older, suggesting earlier identification of ASD symptoms may be associated with response to intervention efforts or increased likelihood for overdiagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-395
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Keywords

  • autism
  • diagnostic stability
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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