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Les instruments d'évaluation de l'autisme: Intérêts et limites.

Based on the use of scales to evaluate autistic disorder, reflections on the interests, limits, and ethics of using evaluative instruments are developed. Instruments to evaluate autism can present the following interests, they: 1) are appropriate to autistic disorder; 2) introduce a third party, a mediation, a triangulation concerning the child with autism, the family or the caregiver; 3) create a precise context, a standardized situation that brings methodological rigor to the observation and evaluation of autistic disorder; 4) allow the evolution of patients with autism to be followed; 5) stimulate discussion and fruitful exchanges within the care-giving team and with parents of children with autism. However, these same evaluative instruments have some limits: 1) the apparent objectivity of the scores hides the subjectivity of the evaluator, which plays a role in the administration and scoring; 2) the regular use of scales favours a tendency to score behaviour without analysing what it may express or mean, thus reducing psychodynamic reflection. Finally, certain ethical issues should not be neglected; the evaluation of autistic problems involves human interaction. This dimension needs to be maintained during test administration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)