, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 363-387

Autism diagnostic interview: A standardized investigator-based instrument

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The development of a new standardized investigator-based interview for use in the differential diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders is described, together with a diagnostic algorithm (using ICD-10 criteria) based on its use. Good interrater reliability for algorithm items was shown between four raters, two in Canada and two in the UK, who rated 32 videotaped interviews. The items also significantly discriminated between 16 autistic and 16 nonautistic mentally handicapped subjects. The algorithm based on ICD-10 identified all 16 autistic individuals and none of the 16 nonautistic subjects.

We are most grateful to Dr. Susan Folstein and her colleagues at Johns Hopkins, and to colleagues in our own departments (especially Patrick Bolton, Heather Jordan, and Hope Macdonald) for their many helpful suggestions on the wording of the ADI and for their help in clarifying the concepts involved and to Deborah Dewey and Catherine Mulloy for assistance in data analysis. Special thanks are due to Jaqueline Heemsbergen who conducted some of the interviews in Edmonton and to the many parents who generously gave their time in allowing us to interview them. We are most grateful also to Dr. Andrew Pickles for his statistical advice. The study was supported in part by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the (British) Medical Research Council, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We also thank Anne Storey for her careful preparation of the manuscript and for checking references.