New Research on Global Autism Assessment Tool

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Researchers at Virginia Tech University recently explored the effectiveness and development of a global assessment practice in diagnosis autism. Authored by Susan White, Laura Smith, and Amie Schry, the study explored clinician-rated global autism functioning using the “Developmental Disability—Child Global Assessment Scale.”

In clinical research, there are a variety of well-established tools to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but overall, there is a limited repertoire of evidence-based tools for assessing change in day-to-day functioning for autistics globally. This study focused on evaluating tools for change in everyday life symptoms and functioning.

This lack of a further global autism symptoms and progression assessment model demonstrates a lapse in clinical research and progression. Clinical assessments typically measure and target problem areas in patients, such as anxiety or aggressive behaviors, but since there is such a tremendous amount of symptoms from individuals with ASD it is difficult to capture and measure targeted symptoms for determining progression from diagnosis to treatments.

The study included a small scope of patients comprised of 30 adolescents from ages 12 to 17. Of the participants, 15 were randomly assigned to a 14-week cognitive behavioral treatment program for anxiety and social skills, and their results were measured against the other control group. Each participant had a clinical ASD diagnosis, but was also considered higher-functioning in that they had higher verbal engagement and communication. The participants were asked to complete a variety of progression-based assessment tools such as “Children’s communication,” “Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory ASD Anxiety Scale,” “Clinical Global Impressions-Improvements scale,” Social Responsiveness Scale,” “School Placement,” “Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales—Second Edition,” “Procedure,” and “Statistical Analyses.”

Overall, the results demonstrated that participants with overall higher communication abilities with rated by clinicians to have higher functioning scores overall, and that higher verbal skills were also considered more advanced. Overall though, individual participant classroom education performance did not correlate identically with higher testing in communication skills, signifying that there are no significant differences. In summary, the study proved that there is mixed clinical evidence and support that change in global functioning would relate to change in symptomatic improvement and treatment response.

A portion of the results of this study was presented at the 11th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research.

Read the original article here.

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