Preterm children have an increased risk of falling for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But an early diagnosis of ASD is challenging because of the lesser reliability of conventional screening Level 1 tools in this population. A recent study determined if the Autism Detection in Early Childhood (ADEC) and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) accurately identify the children at risk for ASD in a NICU Follow-up setting and thus ease referral for formal ASD evaluation.
The study recruited children aged 18–36 months from a NICU Follow-up program and were given presumptive diagnoses based on DSM-5 criteria and screened for ASD risk with the ADEC and CBCL. Children falling in the “at-risk” range on either tool were referred for a full diagnostic ASD evaluation.
The results were as follows-
The ADEC excellently identified children at risk for ASD within this high-risk NICU cohort, adding advantage as an autism-specific screening tool over the CBCL alone.
Source: Haffner DN, Bartram LR, Coury DL. et al. The Autism Detection in Early Childhood Tool: Level 2 autism spectrum disorder screening in a NICU Follow-up program, Infant Behavior and Development, 2021;65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101650.