Validating and improving test case effectiveness

: Neuropsychological or psychological testing (see CPB 0158 - Neuropsychological and Psychological Testing) beyond standardized parent interviews and direct, structured behavioral observation is rarely considered medically necessary for the diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders.Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of biologically based chronic neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impairments in two major domains: 1) deficits in social communication and social interaction and 2) restricted repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities.Autism and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may be suspected by the following symptoms: any loss of any language or social skills at any age; no 2-word spontaneous (not just echolalic) phrases by 24 months; no babbling by 12 months; no gesturing (e.g., pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months; or no single words by 16 months.Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) include autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, and are chronic life-long conditions.Dissociations between simple and complex processing are reported in the areas of language, memory, executive function, motor function, reading, mathematics, and perspective-taking.However, there is no reported evidence that confirms or excludes a diagnosis of autism based on these cognitive patterns alone.Because there are no biological markers for autism, screening must focus on behavior.

Furthermore, the recurrence risk for siblings is about 3 to 5 %, corresponding to an incidence 75 times greater than that in the general population.Autism has been estimated to affect approximately 1 in 1,000 children in the United States, and other pervasive developmental disorders have been estimated to affect approximately 2 in 1,000 children in the United States.Based on recent prevalence estimates of 10 to 20 cases per 10,000 individuals, between 60,000 and 115,000 children under the age of 15 years meet diagnostic criteria for autism. However, there is a consensus that treatment must be individualized depending upon the specific strengths, weaknesses and needs of the child and family.Current screening methods may not identify children with milder variants of autism, those without mental retardation or language delay, such as verbal individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder, or older children, adolescents, and young adults.

There are relatively few appropriately sensitive and specific autism screening tools for infants and toddlers, and this continues to be the current focus of many research centers.

It has been emphasized that most pathological symptoms of autism result from altered perception of external stimuli, which arouse fear and anxiety.