Autism may be diagnosed in toddlerhood using this 25-item checklist questionnaire

A study published by the University of Cambridge suggests that at 18 to 30 months of age, autism may be diagnosed by using the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers.

The findings were released in the journal BMJ Pediatrics Open.

For the study, close to 4,000 toddlers were assessed using the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers. Each young participant was assessed at 18 months of age, then again at four years old.

From the study: “The Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers can be used at 18–30 months to identify autism and enable accelerated referral for diagnostic assessment. The low positive predictive value suggests that for every true positive there would, however, be ~4–5 false positives.”

“At follow-up, new cases were identified, illustrating the need for continued surveillance and rescreening at multiple time-points using developmentally sensitive instruments. Not all children who later receive a diagnosis of autism are detectable during the toddler period,” researchers affirmed.

The study was funded by the Gillings Family Charitable Trust, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, among other organizations.

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