Get access

Autism and epistemology III: Child development, behavioral stability, and reliability of measurement

Authors

  • Gene S. Fisch

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, NYU Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing, New York, New York
    2. Department of Statistics, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
    • NYU Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing, Epidemiology and Health Promotion, 250 Park Ave. S., 6th fl., New York, NY 10003; WSSW and Statistics, Yeshiva University, 2495 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY.

    Search for more papers by this author

  • How to Cite this Article: Fisch GS. 2012. Autism and epistemology III: Child development, behavioral stability, and reliability of measurement. Am J Med Genet Part A. 158A:969–979.

Abstract

Early diagnosis and treatment of autism increases the likelihood that symptoms associated with the disorder can be alleviated. However, the behaviors of both typically and atypically developing young infants and toddlers are quite variable and often change as these children age. Studies have shown that this is the case for same-aged children who are diagnosed with autistic disorder (AD) or other Pervasive Developmental Disabilities (PDDs). Therefore, an early accurate assessment of AD or PDD may be problematic. Moreover, instruments used to make the diagnosis may not be as reliable as desired. Statistics employed to evaluate diagnostic accuracy and behavioral stability of instruments' or clinicians' assessments suggest that their diagnoses have been only moderately successful. In addition, the statistics themselves have limitations that would suggest that the measures of diagnostic accuracy and behavioral stability implemented may not be as effective as they would seem. A resolution to these problems is proposed. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary