Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 23-34

Examination of the Properties of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) in a Population Sample

  • Brie YamaAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Western OntarioDivision of Children’s Health and Therapeutics, Children’s Health Research InstituteChicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • , Tom FreemanAffiliated withDepartment of Family Medicine, The University of Western Ontario
  • , Erin GravesAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Western OntarioDivision of Children’s Health and Therapeutics, Children’s Health Research Institute
  • , Su YuanAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Western OntarioDivision of Children’s Health and Therapeutics, Children’s Health Research InstituteFaculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
  • , M. Karen CampbellAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Western OntarioDivision of Children’s Health and Therapeutics, Children’s Health Research InstituteDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Western OntarioDepartment of Paediatrics, The University of Western Ontario Email author 

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Abstract

This study examines the following properties of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) in an unselected low-risk sample: (a) the maximum age for screen administration; (b) the positive screen rate in the absence of follow-up telephone interviews and; (c) the distributional properties of positive screens. Data came from a prospective cohort study (n = 1,604). Results suggest that the M-CHAT can appropriately be administered to children aged 20–48 months. Documented explanations provided by mothers during screening, appear to effectively identify potential screen misclassifications in the absence of the follow-up telephone interviews. This further emphasizes the importance of clinician expertise in verifying positive M-CHAT screens. Results have implications for the administration of the M-CHAT in clinical and research settings.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Autism Modified checklist for autism in toddlers M-CHAT Toddlers Developmental screening