Validation of the Developmental Check-In Tool for Low-Literacy Autism Screening.

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BACKGROUND: Persistent disparities exist in early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children from low-income families who are racial and/or ethnic minorities and where English is not the primary language. Parental literacy and level of maternal education may contribute to disparities. The Developmental Check-In (DCI) is a visually based ASD screening tool created to reduce literacy demands and to be easily administered and scored across settings. In a previous study, the DCI showed acceptable discriminative ability between ASD versus non-ASD in a young, underserved sample at high-risk for ASD. In this study, we tested the DCI among an unselected, general sample of young underserved children.

METHODS: Six hundred twenty-four children ages 24 to 60 months were recruited through Head Start and Early Head Start. Parents completed the DCI, Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up, and Social Communication Questionnaire. Children scoring positive on any measure received evaluation for ASD. Those screening negative on both Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up and Social Communication Questionnaire were considered non-ASD.

RESULTS: Parents were primarily Hispanic, reported high school education or less, and had public or no insurance. The DCI demonstrated good discriminative power (area under the curve = 0.80), performing well across all age groups, genders, levels of maternal education, primary language, and included ethnic and racial groups. Item-level analyses indicated that 24 of 26 DCI items discriminated ASD from non-ASD.

CONCLUSIONS: The DCI is a promising ASD screening tool for young, underserved children and may be of particular value in screening for ASD for those with low literacy levels or with limited English proficiency.








Medicine and Health Sciences | Pediatrics




Department of Pediatrics

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