Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Child, Family and School Psychology

First Advisor

Devadrita Talapatra, Ph.D.


Autism, Clinical judgment, Diagnostic decision making, Differentiation


More and more, due to long waiting lists at diagnostic clinics and access barriers for certain segments of the population, schools are often the first environment in which children are evaluated for ASD (Sullivan, 2013). And while accurate identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is essential for proper treatment and service provision, large percentages of school and community-based identifications of ASD are overturned when children are re-evaluated with strict clinical criteria (Wiggins et al., 2015). In part, challenges faced in accurately differentiating ASD from other conditions may be contributed to the diagnostic complexities of the condition itself. Clinical expertise is one of, if not the most important factors in accurate diagnostic decision-making during evaluations of ASD. However, there exists little insight into what comprises this expert judgment.

Using the Delphi methodology, a panel of clinical and school psychology experts in ASD identification were surveyed until consensus was reached about their use of clinical judgment in differentiating ASD from other conditions. The results of these rounds of questioning were compiled into a decision-making guideline entitled "Beyond Test Results: Developing Clinical Judgment to Differentiate Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders from Those of Other Childhood Conditions." Implications of this guide include incorporation into school psychology training courses and guidance for school-based evaluation teams.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Staci Jordan

File size

421 p.

File format





Psychology, Education, Disability studies