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Efficacy of three screening instruments in the identification of autistic-spectrum disorders

  • Tony Charman (a1), Gillian Baird (a2), Emily Simonoff (a3), Tom Loucas (a4), Susie Chandler (a5), David Meldrum (a6) and Andrew Pickles (a7)...
Abstract
Background

Screening instruments for autistic-spectrum disorders have not been compared in the same sample.

Aims

To compare the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Children's Communication Checklist (CCC).

Method

Screen and diagnostic assessments on 119 children between 9 and 13 years of age with special educational needs with and without autistic-spectrum disorders were weighted to estimate screen characteristics for a realistic target population.

Results

The SCQ performed best (area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC)=0.90; sensitivity 0.86; specificity 0.78). The SRS had a lower AUC (0.77) with high sensitivity (0.78) and moderate specificity (0.67). The CCC had a high sensitivity but lower specificity (AUC=0.79; sensitivity 0.93; specificity 0.46). The AUC of the SRS and CCC was lower for children with IQ < 70. Behaviour problems reduced specificity for all three instruments.

Conclusions

The SCQ, SRS and CCC showed strong to moderate ability to identify autistic-spectrum disorder in this at-risk sample of school-age children with special educational needs.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Tony Charman, Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WCIN IEH, UK. Email: t.charman@ich.ucl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

Funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health, UK. A.P. receives royalties from the SCQ and ADOS–G.

Footnotes
References
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Efficacy of three screening instruments in the identification of autistic-spectrum disorders

  • Tony Charman (a1), Gillian Baird (a2), Emily Simonoff (a3), Tom Loucas (a4), Susie Chandler (a5), David Meldrum (a6) and Andrew Pickles (a7)...
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