, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 131-144

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers: An Initial Study Investigating the Early Detection of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders

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Abstract

Autism, a severe disorder of development, is difficult to detect in very young children. However, children who receive early intervention have improved long-term prognoses. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), consisting of 23 yes/no items, was used to screen 1,293 children. Of the 58 children given a diagnostic/developmental evaluation, 39 were diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum. Six items pertaining to social relatedness and communication were found to have the best discriminability between children diagnosed with and without autism/PDD. Cutoff scores were created for the best items and the total checklist. Results indicate that the M-CHAT is a promising instrument for the early detection of autism.