Today, a research diagnosis of autism is primarily based on several diagnostic assessment tools: the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Both are used in the research study process to determine traits and characteristics that are common in autism. They have become critical measures in providing an accurate research diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) helps evaluate observable behaviors associated within the autism spectrum. It is a semi-structured test in which the individual is given a number of situations, tasks, and demands and the tester observes behaviors across four domains: communication, qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interaction, imagination/creativity and repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. The collected information is then quantified and calculated into an algorithm. The total scores from two domains, communication and reciprocal social interaction are used to classify individuals as meeting the ADOS criteria for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is a structured interview designed to obtain detailed descriptions of those behaviors that are necessary for the differential diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). The interview primarily focuses on the key characteristics listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These features are social interactions and social communication, and restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests.