Comparing the Performance Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening Measures in Toddlers
The current study represents a preliminary investigation of a new screening measure, the Vanderbilt Scales for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This measure’s psychometric performance in toddlers referred for developmental evaluation (N=159, ages 18-36 months) was compared to the most common screening measure (i.e., the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers [M-CHAT]) and a structured observation of behavior. Results indicated that the Vanderbilt Scales had a lower sensitivity than the M-CHAT, but a higher specificity and positive predictive value. Adding a structured observation of behavior resulted in a higher positive predictive value than when either respective screening measure was used alone. Results highlight the limits of self-report screening measures and the potential value of hybrid screening methodologies utilizing parent report and structured observations.