Early Detection of Developmental Disorders
Core Function: Research and Evaluation
Younger siblings of those affected with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are at increased risk of developing an ASD-related disorder. Estimates are that up to 20% of younger siblings will have ASD. Early detection of ASD for purposes of early intervention has come to be recognized as crucial for promoting the best possible outcome for affected children. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is an effective screening instrument that is now used widely in the United States as well as in other countries for early detection of ASD. The Early Detection of Developmental Disorders study will collaborate with Vanderbilt University and the University of Connecticut to validate a final revision of the M-CHAT, called the M-CHAT-R, and to further explore its utility for younger siblings of a child diagnosed with an ASD.
The goals of the study are: to test the M-CHAT-R, to determine whether the guidelines for its use apply to the sibling population; to broaden the follow-up screen; to evaluate screen-negative cases to look for missed cases; and to determine the test-retest reliability of the M-CHAT-R. Researchers at our center will screen 240 infant siblings between the ages of 16 and 30 months and then provide a follow-up re-screening at 3 to 3.5 years. Children who screen positive will be provided with diagnostic evaluation at no cost to families. In addition, researchers will randomly select 30 siblings who screen negative and provide a follow-up evaluation at about 3 years of age to estimate the rate of false negatives.