Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


Overall, the number of children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has increased. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC; CDC, 2012a) now estimates that 1 in 88 children have ASD (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls). This represents a 23% increase from data collected two years previously (CDC, 2009). This increased prevalence suggests that there is a growing need for screening and further referral, when indicated, for a diagnostic evaluation for children suspected of having ASD. To receive appropriate diagnostic services, a child must be able to obtain a comprehensive evaluation conducted by competent and qualified personnel using a protocol of acceptable tools and procedures. This is especially critical since early diagnosis of ASD is needed to help children and their families to realize the positive outcomes that can be achieved by participating in appropriate intervention services at the earliest point (e.g., National Research Council, 2001; Volkmar, Reichow, & Doehring, 2011). It is essential then that parents, providers and educators remain vigilant in ensuring that all children, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status are appropriately diagnosed as early as possible, and provided with the individualized services that can lead to optimal outcomes. This document contains guidelines to meet the need for a common understanding across Connecticut regarding the elements essential in making an accurate diagnosis of ASD. The Connecticut Guidelines for a Clinical Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (hereafter referred to as Guidelines) are a result of collaborative efforts that were initiated under the Connecticut Act Early Project. This project began in 2007 as a partnership among the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). As part of the Act Early Campaign, regional summits of state teams were held during 2008-2010, with a Connecticut team participating in the New England Act Early Summit in Providence, Rhode Island in April 2010. The team consisted of representatives from the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service; the Connecticut Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (both of the University of Connecticut Health Center); the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program (both of the Yale School of Medicine); Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Hospital for Special Care; the Connecticut State Departments of Children and Families, Developmental Services, Social Services; the Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities; the Connecticut chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; a local Head Start Agency; parent advocacy organizations. Parents of children and adults who have ASD were also on the team.


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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION This publication was developed as a partnership with multiple stakeholders throughout Connecticut. All rights under federal copyright laws are held by the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities except for the previously published materials included in this document and published in 2013. All parts of this publication, except for previously published materials credited to the authors and/or publishers may be reproduced in any form of printed or visual medium. Any reproduction of this publication may not be sold for profit or reproduction costs without the exclusive permission of the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Any reproduction of this publication, in whole or in part, shall acknowledge, in writing, the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

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Previously published surveillance and screening algorithms and diagnostic criteria included in this document are reprinted with permission from the author and/or publishers and are for personal use only. They may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the author and/or publisher.