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      Screening tools for autism spectrum disorders

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          – Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is important over the whole life span. Standardized instruments may support the assessment process. The purpose of this paper is to describe English- and German-screening tools for ASD.

          Design/methodology/approach

          – PubMed was used to search for published tools and evidence on their diagnostic validity.

          Findings

          – Searches identified 46 screening tools for ASD. Most are designed for children, while only few measures are available for adults, especially those with additional intellectual disabilities. Many instruments are under-researched, although a small number such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers and the SCQ have been widely examined in a variety of populations.

          Originality/value

          – The study identified and described a number of ASD screeners that can support clinicians or researchers when deciding whether to carry out a more comprehensive ASD assessment.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 59

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          The Autism Spectrum Quotient: Children's Version (AQ-Child).

          The Autism Spectrum Quotient-Children's Version (AQ-Child) is a parent-report questionnaire that aims to quantify autistic traits in children 4-11 years old. The range of scores on the AQ-Child is 0-150. It was administered to children with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) (n = 540) and a general population sample (n = 1,225). Results showed a significant difference in scores between those with an ASC diagnosis and the general population. Receiver-operating-characteristic analyses showed that using a cut-off score of 76, the AQ-Child has high sensitivity (95%) and specificity (95%). The AQ-Child showed good test-retest reliability and high internal consistency. Factor analysis provided support for four of the five AQ-Child design subscales. Future studies should evaluate how the AQ-C performs in population screening.
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            Toward brief “Red Flags” for autism screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist for Autism in toddlers in 1,000 cases and 3,000 controls [corrected].

            Frontline health professionals need a "red flag" tool to aid their decision making about whether to make a referral for a full diagnostic assessment for an autism spectrum condition (ASC) in children and adults. The aim was to identify 10 items on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) (Adult, Adolescent, and Child versions) and on the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT) with good test accuracy. A case sample of more than 1,000 individuals with ASC (449 adults, 162 adolescents, 432 children and 126 toddlers) and a control sample of 3,000 controls (838 adults, 475 adolescents, 940 children, and 754 toddlers) with no ASC diagnosis participated. Case participants were recruited from the Autism Research Centre's database of volunteers. The control samples were recruited through a variety of sources. Participants completed full-length versions of the measures. The 10 best items were selected on each instrument to produce short versions. At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 adult, sensitivity was 0.88, specificity was 0.91, and positive predictive value (PPV) was 0.85. At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 adolescent, sensitivity was 0.93, specificity was 0.95, and PPV was 0.86. At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 child, sensitivity was 0.95, specificity was 0.97, and PPV was 0.94. At a cut-point of 3 on the Q-CHAT-10, sensitivity was 0.91, specificity was 0.89, and PPV was 0.58. Internal consistency was >0.85 on all measures. The short measures have potential to aid referral decision making for specialist assessment and should be further evaluated.
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              The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ)--adolescent version.

              The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) quantifies autistic traits in adults. This paper adapted the AQ for children (age 9.8-15.4 years). Three groups of participants were assessed: Group 1: n=52 adolescents with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA); Group 2: n=79 adolescents with classic autism; and Group 3, n=50 controls. The adolescents with AS/HFA did not differ significantly from the adolescents with autism but both clinical groups scored higher than controls. Approximately 90% of the adolescents with AS/HFA and autism scored 30+, vs. none of the controls. Among the controls, boys scored higher than girls. The AQ can rapidly quantify where an adolescent is situated on the continuum from autism to normality.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                AIA
                10.1108/AIA
                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                2056-3868
                30 July 2015
                30 July 2015
                : 1
                : 1
                : 12-29
                Affiliations
                Ev. Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge, Berlin, Germany.
                Ev. Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge, Berlin, Germany.
                University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand AND Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK.
                Article
                AIA-03-2015-0001.pdf
                10.1108/AIA-03-2015-0001
                © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
                Product
                Categories
                Articles
                Research paper
                Health & social care
                Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata
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                Health & Social care

                Screening measure, Autism spectrum disorder, Diagnosis

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