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

Tony Charman, Gillian Baird, Emily Simonoff, Tom Loucas, Susie Chandler, David Meldrum, Andrew Pickles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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 0.86; 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 ofthe 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 pages5
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


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