Use of the Modified Checklist for Autism, Revised with Follow Up-Albanian to Screen for ASD in Albania

Abstract

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised-Albanian screener (M-CHAT-R-A) was used to screen 2594 toddlers, aged 16–30 months, at well-child visits. Two hundred fifty-three (9.75 %) screened positive; follow up on failed items were conducted by phone with 127 (50 %); the remainder were lost to follow-up. Twenty-six toddlers (21 %) continued to screen positive; 19 received full evaluations, which assessed for ASD with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and developmental delays with the Parents Assessment of Developmental Status—Developmental Milestones. All evaluated children had significant delays; 17 of the 19 met criteria for Autism/ASD. Removal of three items improved performance. Although Albania and the US are quite different in culture and language, key features of ASD appeared very similar.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the children, families, and pediatricians in Albania for their time and participation in this project. We are especially grateful to Dr. Liri Berisha, founder and head of the Albanian Children’s Foundation for her initiating the autism work in Albania, and her unending support. To the therapists and other staff of the Albanian Children’s Foundation and the Regional Center for Autism, we are very grateful for your dedication to the parents and children and your participation in many roles on the screening project. We are particularly thankful to Erjona Capari, Ariana Caushi, Miranda Hadermataj and Dr. Aida Bushati of Tirana Medical University for your incredible attention to detail, personal dedication to the children, and commitment to this study and to Dr. Bushati and Ms. Hadermataj for conducting the ADOS. We wish to thank Dr. Lynn Brennan, BCBA-D, and Jamie Hughes, BCBA, for their incredible dedication, hours beyond counting, and invaluable leadership on all parts of the Albanian screening and parent training projects. Thank you also to Dr. Marianne Barton for your wisdom and support throughout this project. We are deeply grateful to Autism Speaks, for funding Screening, Diagnosis and Parent Training for Young Children with ASD in Albania, of which this study was a part, and to Andy Shih of Autism Speaks for his indefatigable efforts to improve life for children and families affected by autism throughout the world. This paper was based on the doctoral dissertation of Laura Brennan.

Funding

This project was funded by a grant from Autism Speaks (Screening, Diagnosis, and Parent Training for Young Children with Autism in Albania). AC and IR received consulting fees from this grant. No other conflict of interest exists.

Author contributions

LB oversaw data collection, analyzed data, and wrote the dissertation on which this paper is based. DF conceived of the study, wrote the grant which funded it, oversaw data collection and analysis, and contributed to writing of the paper. AC conceived of the study, directed the data collection in Albania, trained the pediatricians on screening, and contributed to writing of the paper. I C-R trained clinical staff on the ADOS, oversaw the translation process, and contributed to writing of the paper. C-MC contributed to data analyses.

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Correspondence to Deborah Fein.

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Brennan, L., Fein, D., Como, A. et al. Use of the Modified Checklist for Autism, Revised with Follow Up-Albanian to Screen for ASD in Albania. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 3392–3407 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2875-5

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Keywords

  • Autism/ASD
  • Screening
  • Albania
  • M-CHAT-R/F
  • M-CHAT-R