Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Kilmer, Michele

Committee Member/Reader

Scott, Allison


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that has steadily increased in incidence and prevalence over the last ten years. While the disorder can be diagnosed as early as two years of age, most children do not receive a diagnosis until they are about five years old. The state of Arkansas requires a triad autism diagnosis, mandating that a physician, psychologist, and speech pathologist individually evaluate and agree on a diagnosis of autism for a child. The purpose of this evaluation was to examine diagnostic practices in the 11 states that participate in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM) to compare efficiency of the Arkansas triad diagnosis. The ADDM findings show that Arkansas ranks last in autism detection and evaluation of at-risk children before age 3 years. These practices have not improved in the last 10 years. The participating states with the lowest ages of diagnosis and strongest practices utilized an interdisciplinary team approach and had programs located in multiple cities that were focused solely on early identification, evaluation, and diagnosis. By implementing similar interdisciplinary practices in Arkansas, the triad diagnosis requirement could be re-evaluated, and more resources for evaluation and diagnosis can be created for the state. Arkansas’ identification, evaluation, and diagnostic rates could improve by discontinuing the triad autism diagnosis requirement in favor of implementing similar interdisciplinary team approaches and increasing program locations throughout the state.


autism spectrum disorder, ASD, early diagnosis, ADDM