Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Improving accuracy and accessibility of early autism screening  

The aims of this proposal are to complete development and evaluation of a computerized adaptation of a new tool to more accurately identify toddlers with signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and to make this tool accessible to varied populations. Early screening for ASD is a new standard for pediatric practice. However, the most widely recommended screen, M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers), has a large over-referral rate and low income families are less able to or do not remember to complete it prior to their visits. This project will create methods for using the M-CHAT in the waiting room by phone (interactive voice response), touch screen kiosk, and laptop, as well as a phone reminder system. The methods will be piloted for acceptability and then the preference, satisfaction, and costs of these methods will be measured in 3 populations. In addition, computerized versions of the M-CHAT and a Follow Up interview (designed to reduce over-referral) have been created and will be validated by evaluating 300 children for ASD who have positive M-CHAT screens regardless of their M-CHAT Follow Up results. It is anticipated that the computerized M-CHAT and M-CHAT/Follow Up combination will improve rates of valid screening for ASD, which is important for early identification and intervention, and also cut the over-referral rate by more than half, saving costs and parent agony. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $318,946.00
Project Number 1R44MH085399-01
Principal Investigator Howard, Barbara
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 1: When Should I Be Concerned? (Diagnosis)
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 1SA. Develop, with existing tools, at least one efficient diagnostic instrument (e.g., briefer, less time intensive) that is valid in diverse populations for use in large-scale studies by 2011. IACC Recommended Budget: $5,300,000 over 2 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Total Child Health, Inc.
State/Country Maryland
Web Link 1 Improving accuracy and accessibility of early autism screening (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Improving accuracy and accessibility of early autism screening | $518,904.00 | 2010 | 4R44MH085399-02