130 researchers,  clinicians,and advocates attended the  SIG meeting on May 4th, 2013 held during the International Meeting for Autism Research in San Sebastian, Spain.


  • Evidence-based tools for autism including "gold-standard" tools are highly sensitive to context. Tools need to be selected based on careful consideration of the population it will be used with and the purpose/goals of identification.
  • The success of surveillance and/or screening largely depend on the level of awareness and understanding of the characteristics of autism in the wider community, rather than on the specific tool in use. Identification efforts need to go hand in hand with capacity building to ensure that children who are identified can access adequate care.
  •  Identification programs for autism are more likely to succeed if they are embedded in existing community-based early childhood services.
  •  In the context of diagnostic assessment, standardized tools aid professionals in arriving at the correct diagnosis and help to identify the profile of skills and needs in each child.
  • Gold standard resource-intensive diagnostic tools for autism diagnosis have limited utility for primary care settings. Instead, such tools are more often used in specialized care settings and/or for diagnosis of complex cases.
  • Experts cautioned that tools are corrupted once they become the gateway to publishing in mainstream journals (in research) or to access to services (in community settings).


INSAR Global Special Interest Group on Early Identification and Intervention for Autism (2013). Lost in Translation: Scientifically valid and contextually appropriate use of early screening and diagnostic instruments, 2013 Report. Download

Listen to the full session (1 hour 90 minutes)


Special thanks to the expert panel

Sven Bölte, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Ann Le Couteur, Newcastle University, UK
Young-Shin Kim, Yale University, USA
Bennett Leventhal, Nathan Kline Institute, USA™ 
Catherine Lord, Cornell University, US
Andrew Pickles, King’s College, UK

Research publications

Manuscript is currently in preparation. Stay Tuned

Other Events & Outputs