Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)

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The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) is a highly recognized evaluative measure for diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Along with additional assessments, a well trained clinician will use this systematic interview tool as part of a comprehensive evaluation which should include clinical observation and additional evaluation measures for diagnosing ASD. It is most frequently used in research and specialty clinics.

Name Autism Diagnostic Interview –   Revised (ADI-R)
Reference Rutter M, LeCouteur A, Lord C (2003, 2008). Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
Summary The ADI-R is a way of collecting a systematic developmental history for children being evaluated for ASD. It was designed by researchers in ASD, many of whom also created the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2). Together, the ADI-R and ADOS-2 are considered the “gold standard” instruments for diagnosing ASD, and both have been widely used in ASD research and specialty clinics. However, the time required to administer the ADI-R is prohibitive for many general clinical applications.
Age Range Individuals of any age with a developmental level of at least 2 years
Format A trained examiner conducts a 90-150 minute interview with a caregiver who knows the individual’s early developmental history and current functioning. The examiner elicits descriptions of behaviors and rates them using anchors provided with each item.
Who Can Administer and Interpret Interviewers must be adept in general interviewing skills and have the ability to both recognize and obtain detailed descriptions of behaviors relevant to ADI-R items. This is not a structured interview with clear decision trees: responses require interpretation by the interviewer. Thus, interviewers must be well conversant with the concepts of ASD and the many ways in which ASD symptoms can manifest. Like the ADOS-2, the ADI-R is commercially available. However, training in administration and scoring is available and highly recommended. Training can be as brief as attending a 2 day workshop or as extensive as establishing reliability with the authors (an extensive process of establishing that administration and scoring is consistent with the authors’ administration and scoring). In specialty training clinics and research settings, trainees often administer the ADI-R under close supervision of an ASD expert while mastering the skill of diagnosing ASD.
Results Yielded Both “Lifetime” and “Current” Scores in the 3 domains of Social Interaction, Communication, and Range of Restrictive, Repetitive, and Stereotyped Behaviors and Interests are obtained. Separate Communication algorithms are available for verbal and nonverbal individuals. In addition, scores indicating abnormal development before the age of 3 are also obtained.
Author’s Suggested Uses and Cautions The ADI-R provides a helpful standardized approach to gathering diagnostic information, but it does not obviate the need to consider broader clinical issues.
Development and Ongoing Research The ADI-R has been widely adopted for research purposes around the world and is continually being studied by the authors and others. It is well-established as the preferred method for obtaining an in-depth developmental history for ASD.

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Last Updated: June 23, 2020

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