, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 563-581

Diagnostic assessment in a sample of autistic and developmentally impaired adolescents

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A sample of 43 autistic and developmentally impaired adolescents were assessed with the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI), DSM-III-R criteria, and the clinician's diagnosis. DSM-III-R criteria for autism have low specificity and agree poorly with the other two definitions. Detailed results of the ADI are provided that confirm the usefulness and discriminant validity of this semistructured diagnostic interview in a sample of very retarded autistic subjects.

This research is supported by the grant No. 88-1 from the Centre Technique National d'Etudes et de Recherches sur les Handicaps et les Inadaptations (CTNERHI), and a grant from the Direction Générale de la Santé (DGS). The author is grateful to Michael Rutter and his colleagues for their help in training for the Autism Diagnostic Interview, and to referees who made helpful suggestions on a first version of the article. Special thanks are due to René Tuffreau, Externat Medico-Pédagogique d'Orvault (Loire-Atlantique) and to Sophie Achard for their active participation in this part of the study. We also express our thanks to the mothers and fathers who gave up their time in order to facilitate our work.