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University of Gothenburg

Mats Johnson

Mats Johnson recounts how grants from the foundation allowed him to attend the DISCO course which helped him in his research studies

Senior consultant and PhD student


"My PhD dissertation is titled “Non-stimulant treatments in ADHD” and concerns various alternative treatments of ADHD in children, adolescents and adults. We have studied the polyunsaturated fatty acid Omega3, the medication Strattera and a form of cognitive training for children with behavioural problems, so-called Collaborative Problem Solving. I was registered as a PhD student in the autumn of 2011.

In 2007 I applied for funding from The Swedish Child Neuropsychiatry Science Foundation to take a DISCO course. The course consists of a two-day seminar, after which one is supposed to do a DISCO interview on one’s own and code it. The assignment is handed in to the course leaders and after that, one more gathering takes place.

DISCO (Diagnostic Interview for Social and COmmunication disorders) is a structured diagnostic interview pertaining to autism spectrum disorders (autism, Asperger’s syndrome and autism-like conditions) and associated conditions such as ADHD. The improved knowledge that DISCO has given me in terms of diagnosing in cases of autism spectrum has been instrumental to me in my research. Examining comorbidity in cases of ADHD, e.g. in the autism spectrum, has been an important component of the studies, and our knowledge of DISCO has helped us assess findings related to this. Individuals with ADHD were accepted into the study if they also had autism-like conditions, but not if they had actually been diagnosed with autism.

Being able to take the DISCO course has been crucial to my research. DISCO grants a good insight into different aspects of autism spectrum. It provides a broader knowledge base than many other established autism diagnostic interviews. I am grateful to The Swedish Child Neuropsychiatry Science Foundation for giving me the opportunity to take the DISCO course, as it has proven to be very valuable to me".

Mats Johnson
Photo: Josefin Bergenholtz