Agreement of parent-reported cognitive level with standardized measures among children with autism spectrum disorder

The SPARK Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Assessing cognitive development is critical in clinical research of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, collecting cognitive data from clinically administered assessments can add a significant burden to clinical research in ASD due to the substantial cost and time required, and it is often prohibitive in large-scale studies. There is a need for more efficient, but reliable, methods to estimate cognitive functioning for researchers, clinicians, and families. To examine the degree to which caregiver estimates of cognitive level agree with actual measured intelligence/developmental scores and understand factors that may impact that agreement, 1,555 autistic individuals (81.74% male; age 18 months–18 years) were selected from a large cohort (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, SPARK). Results suggest that querying parents about recent testing results and developmental diagnoses can provide valid and useful information on cognitive ability. The agreement of parental estimates varied with age, measured cognitive ability, autistic traits, and adaptive skills. In the context of large-scale research efforts, parent-reported cognitive impairment may be a good proxy for categorical IQ range for survey-based studies when specific IQ scores are not available, circumventing the logistical and financial obstacles of obtaining neuropsychological or neurodevelopmental testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1224
Number of pages15
JournalAutism Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Autism Research published by International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • cognitive ability
  • intellectual disability
  • parent report
  • standardized measure

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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