Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 1184–1195

Sensitivity and Specificity of Proposed DSM-5 Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Toddlers


  • Marianne L. Barton
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Connecticut
    • Department of PsychologyGeorgia State University
  • Dasal Jashar
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Connecticut
  • Laura Brennan
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Connecticut
  • Deborah Fein
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Connecticut
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1817-8

Cite this article as:
Barton, M.L., Robins, D.L., Jashar, D. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2013) 43: 1184. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1817-8


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis is based on behavioral presentation; changes in conceptual models or defining behaviors may significantly impact diagnosis and uptake of ASD-specific interventions. The literature examining impact of DSM-5 criteria is equivocal. Toddlers may be especially vulnerable to the stringent requirements of impairment in all three social-communication symptoms and two restricted/repetitive symptoms. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves identified optimal cutoffs for sums of ADOS and ADI-R criteria mapped to each criterion for 422 toddlers. The optimal modification of DSM-5 criteria (sensitivity = 0.93, specificity = 0.74) required meeting the ROC-determined cutoffs for 2/3 Domain A criteria and 1 point for 1/4 Domain B criteria. This modification will help insure that ASD is identified accurately in young children, facilitating ASD-specific early intervention.


Autism spectrum disorderDSM-5ToddlersDiagnosis

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013