, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 639-652

A structured parent interview for identifying young children with autism

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Abstract

This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the Parent Interview for Autism (PIA), a structured interview for gathering diagnostic information from parents of young children with autism. Internal consistency was evaluated in a sample of 165 children under 6 years old, and test-retest reliability and construct validity were evaluated in subsamples of the original group. Results revealed internal consistency and test-retest reliability above. 60 for 9 of the 11 dimensions constituting the PIA, as well as significant correlations between the PIA and other measures of autism. Six of the PIA dimensions differentiated a group of young children with autism from a developmentally comparable group with mental retardation. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

This study was supported by grants from the John F. Kennedy Foundation and the University Research Council at Vanderbilt. The authors gratefully acknowledge the staff of the Child Development Center, the Mama Lere Home, the Susan Gray School, Foundations Preschool, and Heads Up Child Development Center for their help with subject recruitment. Additional thanks are extended to Laura Gutermuth, Sue Lewis, Lynn Medley, Opal Ousley, Nancy Shanley, Mary Shelton, and Carmelita, Williams for their invaluable assistance on this project.