Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 501–517

Diagnosing Autism: Analyses of Data from the Autism Diagnostic Interview


  • Catherine Lord
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Chicago
  • Andrew Pickles
    • MRC Child Psychiatry
  • John McLennan
    • University of Pittsburgh
  • Michael Rutter
    • MRC Child Psychiatry
  • Joel Bregman
    • Emory University
  • Susan Folstein
    • New England Medical Center
  • Eric Fombonne
    • INSERM Centre Alfred Binet
  • Marion Leboyer
    • INSERM U155-Unite de Recherche on Genetique
  • Nancy Minshew
    • University of Pittsburgh

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025873925661

Cite this article as:
Lord, C., Pickles, A., McLennan, J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (1997) 27: 501. doi:10.1023/A:1025873925661


Results from ROC curves of items from two scales, the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), operationalizing DSM-IV criteria for autism are presented for 319 autistic and 113 other subjects from 8 international autism centers. Analyses indicate that multiple items were necessary to attain adequate sensitivity and specificity if samples with varying levels of language were considered separately. Although considering only current behavior was generally sufficient when a combination cutoff and additive model was employed, predictive power was highest when history was taken into account. A single set of criteria, as operationalized by individually structured questions in the ADI/ADI-R, was effective in differentiating autism from mental handicap and language impairment in subjects with a range of chronological ages and developmental levels.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997