Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are defined as a group of behaviors indicating social, communicative, and behavioral impairment or abnormalities. The essential features of ASD are (a) impaired reciprocal social interactions, (b) delayed or unusual communication styles, and (c) restricted or repetitive behavior patterns.
A child is included in the Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (MADDSP) as a confirmed case of ASD if he or she displays behaviors (as described on a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional) that are consistent with the diagnostic criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) for any of the following conditions: Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS, including Atypical Autism), or Asperger's Disorder.
To determine MADDSP case status, information is abstracted from health and education records and then reviewed by an ASD clinician reviewer using a coding scheme based on DSM-IV-TR criteria for Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger’s Disorder.
A qualified professional is defined as a medical, clinical, or educational professional in a position to observe children with developmental disabilities (including, but not limited to, psychologist, physician, teacher, learning specialist, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nurse, social worker).
An ASD clinician reviewer is defined as a qualified diagnostician with specialized training and experience in autism assessment and diagnosis.