Dr. Vanessa Bal, The Karmazin And Lillard Chair In Adult Autism and GSAPP Associate Professor, recently published the initial validation study for an adaptation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, a diagnostic tool commonly used in the evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The article, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, describes a new module set that expands the repertoire of available assessments to assess autism symptoms in minimally verbal adolescents and adults.
Few measures are appropriate to assess autism symptoms in minimally verbal adolescents and adults. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2, Lord et al., in Autism diagnostic observation schedule–2nd edition (ADOS-2). Western Psychological Services, Los Angeles, 2012) Modules 1 and 2 were designed and validated with children whose spoken language ranges from few- to- no words to phrase-speech. This study describes the development and initial validation of the Adapted-ADOS (A-ADOS), which includes tasks, materials and behavioral codes modified to be suitable for assessing older minimally verbal individuals. A-ADOS algorithms exhibit comparable sensitivity and improved specificity relative to ADOS-2 Modules 1 and 2. Although further validation is needed, the A-ADOS will facilitate research to further understanding of minimally verbal adults and symptom trajectories across the lifespan.