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Comparative Study
, 47 (10), 3180-3188

Comparison of Autism Screening in Younger and Older Toddlers

Comparative Study

Comparison of Autism Screening in Younger and Older Toddlers

Raymond Sturner et al. J Autism Dev Disord.


This study examined the effect of age at completion of an autism screening test on item failure rates contrasting older (>20 months) with younger (<20 months) toddlers in a community primary care sample of 73,564 children. Items related to social development were categorized into one of three age sets per criteria from Inada et al. (Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 4(4):605-611, 2010). Younger toddlers produced higher rates of item failure than older toddlers and items in both of the later acquired item sets had higher probability rates for failure than the earliest acquired item set (prior to 8 months). Use of the same items and the same scoring throughout the target age range for autism screening may not be the best strategy for identifying the youngest toddlers at risk for autism.

Keywords: Autism screening; Developmental screening; M-CHAT; Test development.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: “This study was conducted by the Center for Promotion of Child Development through Primary Care and its for-profit subsidiary, Total Child Health (TCH), Inc. CHADIS, the web-tool used in the study, was developed by Dr. Sturner and his spouse, Dr. Howard.

Dr Sturner is Director of the Center and Dr. Howard is President of TCH. Both are members of the Board of Directors of both entities and are paid consultants to both entities.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Sample Selection
Figure 2
Figure 2
Age distribution of sample (not adjusted for prematurity)

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