Autism Spectrum Disorder in the DSM-5: Diagnostic Sensitivity and Specificity in Early Childhood

Jessica A Christiansz, Kylie M Gray, John Taffe, Bruce J Tonge

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Changes to the DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) criteria raised concerns among parents and practitioners that the criteria may exclude some children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Few studies have examined DSM-5 sensitivity and specificity in children less than 5 years of age. This study evaluated 185 children aged 20–55 months with DSM-IV PDD or developmental delay. Autism Diagnostic Interview—Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) data was assigned to DSM-5 subdomains. Children displaying the required symptomatology were classified with DSM-5 ASD. DSM-IV clinical diagnoses were compared to DSM-5 classifications. Using combined ADI-R/ADOS information, sensitivity was.84 and specificity was.54. Comorbid behaviour and emotional problems were significantly lower in children with PDD that did not meet DSM-5 criteria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2054-2063
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • ADI-R
  • ADOS
  • Diagnosis
  • DSM-5

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