Aims: To evaluate screening tests for autism at different ages.
Background: The ARC pioneered early screening for autism at 18 months of age, using the CHAT (Checklist for Autism in Toddlers). This focused particularly on the absence of key behaviours (pretend play and joint attention) at 18 months of age as early indicators of a later diagnosis of autism. We revised the CHAT to make it quantitative (the Q-CHAT) in an effort to improve the sensitivity of the instrument. The Q-CHAT measures the frequency of behaviours, rather than the behaviours being present or absent. We have also developed other screening instruments, such as the CAST (Childhood Autism Screening Test), and the AQ (Autism Spectrum Quotient, with different versions for children, teenagers, and adults).
Method: We conduct population studies to test the sensitivity and specificity of these screening instruments, and we use these measures of autistic traits to test for associations with cognition, brain function, brain structure, and genetics.
Results: Results will appear on our website.
Importance: Screening can improve access to referrals for the assessment and diagnosis of autism. Measuring autistic traits can help us understand the breadth and depth of these in the population.
Relevance: This work is relevant to both clinicians and epidemiologists as well as to empower parents and autistic people who are seeking a diagnosis.
Funding: The Medical Research Council; the Autism Research Trust; the NIHR CLAHRC East of England, The Big Lottery Fund.
- The psychometric properties of the Quantitative-Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT) as a measure of autistic traits in a community sample of Singaporean infants and toddlers, Molecular Autism 06:40 (2015), I Magiati, D Goh, S Lim, D Gan, J Leong, C Allison, S Baron-Cohen, A Rifkin-Graboi, B Broekman, S-M Saw, Y Chong, K Kwek, P Gluckman, S Lim, M Meaney
- Toward Brief “Red Flags” for Autism Screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist in 1,000 Cases and 3,000 Controls, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 51(2):202-212 (2012), C. Allison, B. Auyeung, S. Baron-Cohen
- Foetal testosterone and autistic traits in 18 to 24-month-old children, Molecular Autism 01:11 (2010), B. Auyeung, K. Taylor, K, G. Hackett, G, S. Baron-Cohen