Efficacy of three screening instruments in the identification of autistic-spectrum disorders

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Background Screening instruments for autistic-spectrum disorders have not been compared in the same sample. Aims To compare the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Children's Communication Checklist (CCC). Method Screen and diagnostic assessments on 119 children between 9 and 13 years of age with special educational needs with and without autistic-spectrum disorders were weighted to estimate screen characteristics for a realistic target population. Results The SCQ performed best (area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC)=0.90; sensitivity. 6; specificity 0.78). The SRS had a lower AUC (0.77) with high sensitivity (0.78) and moderate specificity (0.67). The CCC had a high sensitivity but lower specificity (AUC=0.79; sensitivity 0.93; specificity 0.46). The AUC of the SRS and CCC was lower for children with IQ <70. Behaviour problems reduced specificity for all three instruments. Conclusions The SCQ, SRS and CCC showed strong to moderate ability to identify autistic-spectrum disorder in this at-risk sample of school-age children with special educational needs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554 - 559
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberDEC.
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


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