Background and objective: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often go undetected in toddlers. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) With Follow-up Interview (M-CHAT/F) has been shown to improve detection and reduce over-referral. However, there is little evidence supporting the administration of the interview by a primary care pediatrician (PCP) during typical checkups. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, validity, and reliability of the M-CHAT/F by PCPs with online prompts at the time of a positive M-CHAT screen.
Design: Forty-seven PCPs from 22 clinics completed 197 M-CHAT/Fs triggered by positive M-CHAT screens via the same secure Web-based platform that parents used to complete M-CHATs before an 18- or 24-month well-child visit. A second M-CHAT/F was administered live or by telephone by trained research assistants (RAs) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Autism and Related Disorders. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition, and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning were administered as criterion measures. Measures of agreement between PCPs and RAs were calculated, and measures of test performance compared.
Results: There was 86.6% agreement between PCPs and RAs, with a Cohen's κ of 0.72. Comparison of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and overall accuracy for M-CHAT/F between PCPs and RAs showed significant equivalence for all measures. Use of the M-CHAT/F by PCPs resulted in significant improvement in PPV compared with the M-CHAT alone.
Conclusions: Minimally trained PCPs can administer the M-CHAT/F reliably and efficiently during regular well-child visits, increasing PPV without compromising detection.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.