Professor David Skuse discusses the importance of having standardized instruments when assessing clinical disorders such as autism.
Well many years ago, before we could agree what autism was, there were many different ways of measuring it. And, of course, if there are many different ways of measuring it, we had no way of knowing whether somebody who was doing a study on autism in, say, New York was measuring the same thing as somebody who was doing a study on autism in London. This is a huge problem, not just for autism I may say, but also for a variety of psychiatric disorders. For example, you could be cured of schizophrenia in the 1970s by flying from New York to London because what was called schizophrenia in New York was not called schizophrenia in London. Now, psychiatrists have agreed what we call schizophrenia, they’ve agreed what we call bipolar disorder, and indeed pretty well with all other psychiatric conditions we’ve got transatlantic agreement and those measures, are in fact agreed upon all around the world.