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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Dec;40(12):1457-63.

Can the checklist for autism in toddlers differentiate young children with autism from those with developmental delays?

Author information

1
JFK Partners, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA. doug.scambler@uchsc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) has been demonstrated to be sensitive to the presence of autism in otherwise normally developing 18-month-old children. However, its ability to differentiate autism from other significant developmental delays is unknown. This study examined this question.

METHOD:

The CHAT was applied to a group of 44 children aged 2 and 3 years, rigorously diagnosed with autism or with other developmental problems.

RESULTS:

By the original CHAT authors' criteria, the sensitivity and specificity of the CHAT were 65% and 100%, respectively. Slightly altering the criteria resulted in a sensitivity of 85% in the current group of children with developmental disabilities while maintaining specificity of 100%.

CONCLUSIONS:

The current study is the first to demonstrate that the CHAT successfully discriminates 2-year-old children with autism from those with other developmental disorders. In addition, the increased sensitivity of the Denver Criteria in children with developmental disabilities may improve its usefulness as a screening tool for community-based early-diagnostic teams and general practitioners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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