Researchers Call for Open Access to Autism Diagnostic Tools
Epidemiological studies of autism prevalence does not happen often in low to middle income countries; nor is much known about how autism symptoms vary from culture to culture. A major barrier to diagnosis in countries outside of North America and Europe is the cost of assessments. “There are glaring disparities globally, and even within the U.S., in terms of where the research on autism is being done, who is included in studies of autism and the diagnostic and therapeutic services available,” says Maureen Durkin, professor of population health sciences and pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
At the 2013 International Meeting for Autism Research, Durkin delivered a keynote address challenging the field to develop open-source, freely available methods for autism screening and diagnosis.
Publishers charge a fee for the commonly used autism diagnostic tools such as the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), often referred to as the gold-standard tests for diagnosis of the disorder. In developing countries, even paying a small fee can hamper the diagnostic process. A new online clearinghouse of information, DisabilityMeasures.org, attempts to address this issue by gathering free diagnostic tools for developmental disabilities such as autism. To read more about open access to autism diagnostic tools, click here.