European clinical network: autism spectrum disorder assessments and patient characterisation

Karen L. Ashwood*, Jan Buitelaar, Declan Murphy, Will Spooren, Tony Charman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations and World Health Organisation have identified autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an important public health issue across global mental health services. Although a range of tools exist to identify and quantify ASD symptoms, there is a lack of information about which ASD measures are used in different services worldwide. This paper presents data from a large survey of measures used for patient characterisation in major ASD research and clinical centres across Europe collected between June 2013 and January 2014. The objective was to map the use of different instruments used to characterise ASD, comorbid psychopathology and cognitive and adaptive ability for patient diagnostic and characterisation purposes across Europe. Sixty-six clinical research sites diagnosing 14,844 patients per year contributed data. The majority of sites use the well-established Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) instruments, though the proportion of sites in Western Europe using the ADI was almost double the rate in Eastern Europe. Approximately half the sites also used the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), although use of the SRS was over three times higher in Western Europe compared with Eastern Europe. The use of free/open access measures was lower than commercially available tools across all regions. There are clinical and scientific benefits in encouraging further convergence of clinical characterisation measures across ASD research and clinical centres in Europe to facilitate large-scale data sharing and collaboration, including clinical trials of novel medications and psychological interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2014


  • Autism
  • Diagnosis
  • Europe
  • Measures
  • Screening


Dive into the research topics of 'European clinical network: autism spectrum disorder assessments and patient characterisation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this