Screening for autism spectrum disorders: state of the art in Europe

Patricia García-Primo, Annika Hellendoorn, Tony Charman, Herbert Roeyers, Mieke Dereu, Bernadette Roge, Sophie Baduel, Filippo Muratori, Antonio Narzisi, Emma Van Daalen, Irma Moilanen, Manuel Posada de la Paz, Ricardo Canal-Bedia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large number of studies have reported on the validity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screening procedures. An overall understanding of these studies’ findings cannot be based solely on the level of internal validity of each, since screening instruments might perform differently according to certain factors in different settings. Europe has led the field with the development of the first screening tool and first prospective screening study of autism. This paper seeks to provide an overview of ASD screening studies and ongoing programmes across Europe, and identify variables that have influenced the outcomes of such studies. Results show that, to date, over 70,000 children have been screened in Europe using 18 different screening procedures. Differences among findings across studies have enabled us to identify ten factors that may influence screening results. Although it is impossible to draw firm conclusions as to which screening procedure is most effective, this analysis might facilitate the choice of a screening method that best fits a specific scenario, and this, in turn, may eventually improve early ASD detection procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1021
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Autism
  • Detection
  • Early
  • Europe
  • Methods
  • Review
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Philosophy
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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