BACKGROUND: Recognising the signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a challenge for frontline professionals. The use of brief parent-completed questionnaires for recording the signs of ASD in school-aged children may be an important and efficient contributor to professional insight. However, to date, such questionnaires have not been designed to be used in coordination with current standardised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnostic tools. Furthermore, the measurement characteristics of such questionnaires have been unexplored across countries that differ in levels of national autism service provision and cultural interpretation of the signs of ASD.
METHODS: A new 14-item questionnaire (Signposting Questionnaire for Autism (SQ-A)) was developed using published DSM-5 items from a clinical interview, the Diagnostic Interview for Social Communication Disorders (DISCO). Measurement comparison was tested with the Short Autism Spectrum Quotient-Child (AQ-10) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Parents of 4-11-year-old children in the UK (N = 200) and Latvia (N = 104) completed all three questionnaires. Information on clinical diagnosis provided by parents led to classification into three groups: ASD diagnosis, other conditions and no conditions. In the UK, a subsample of teachers also provided cross-informant reliability.
RESULTS: In both countries, there was evidence of acceptable to good internal consistency for the SQ-A, with significantly higher scores for the ASD group and evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. There was also good parent-teacher reliability for the three measures. Notably, the questionnaires designed specifically to measure autism (SQ-A, AQ-10) performed more similarly to one another compared to the broader SDQ, with differences found for the ASD group. The overall pattern of responding to the three questionnaires was highly similar between countries.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate the potential of the 14-item SQ-A to guide frontline professionals in the recognition of the signs of autism in children, facilitating the provision of appropriate support.
|Early online date||15 Aug 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Aug 2020|
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- Autism Spectrum Quotient
- Diagnostic Interview for Social Communication Disorders
- Parent report
- Signposting Questionnaire for Autism
- Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire