Variance in Scores in Assessments for Autism and Stuttering

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For decades, developmental disorders such as stuttering and autism have both been subject to much theorizing and research. Along the way, key discoveries and insights have been produced about each of these developmental disorders along a number of dimensions, including heritability, behavioral and cognitive characteristics, neurological associates, onset and development, and intervention approaches. To this end, there are areas of convergence and divergence between these two disorders that can potentially provide new insights relating to the spectrum view of developmental disorders. The primary aim of this project to is evaluate recently published studies in the areas of autism and stuttering that utilize two prominent standardized assessments, the SSI-4 and the ADOS, to compare and contrast the distributions of scores between the two disorders. The main finding was both SSI-4 and ADOS scores resemble a normal distribution, suggesting that, within each disorder, there exists a range of scores within each diagnostic category. Results are interpreted to suggest that, based on the similarity of these distributions (particularly for the ADOS Total), stuttering could, like autism, be considered a “spectrum” disorder. However, as will be discussed, there are other areas of divergence that would argue against a spectrum view for stuttering.

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ADOS, Autism, Language, speech pathology, SSI, stuttering