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A Two-Year Follow-up on Risk Status Identified by the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers


Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: April 2006 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p S104-S110

ABSTRACT. We examined the characteristics of children at 4 to 5 years of age who were correctly and incorrectly classified as "at risk" for an autism spectrum diagnosis using the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) at age 2 to 3 years. Information is provided on the stability of risk/disorder status over a 2-year period of early development. Participants were 19 children with autism and 11 children with other developmental disabilities who had all been administered the CHAT between 2 and 3 years of age (Time 1) and received diagnostic and developmental reevaluations between 4 and 6 years of age (Time 2). The risk status of children was discussed based on the original CHAT authors' criteria for risk of autism and the Denver modification for risk. High levels of stability in risk/diagnostic status from Time 1 assessments to Time 2 assessments were noted. Specifically, the original CHAT criteria for medium to high risk of autism applied at Time 1 predicted Time 2 diagnostic classification for 83% of the sample, and the Denver modification of the CHAT risk criteria predicted Time 2 diagnostic classification for 93% of the sample. Implications of the findings are discussed as they relate to early screening and identification of autism spectrum disorders.

1Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

2Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO

3M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California Davis Medical Center, Davis, CA

Received August 2005; accepted January 2006.

Address for reprints: Douglas Scambler, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University, 215 N Murray, Stillwater OK; e-mail:

Accepted with revisions at the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 10-05.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.