Diagnostic accuracy of Social Attention and Communication Surveillance–Revised with Preschool tool for early autism detection in very young children

Published March 2022
Abstract
Early identification of children on the autism spectrum is crucial to facilitate access to early supports and services for children and families. The need for improved early autism identification tools is highlighted by the lack of sufficient diagnostic accuracy in current tools. The objective of this study was to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the Social Attention and Communication Surveillance–Revised (SACS-R) and SACS-Preschool (SACS-PR) tools when used with a large, community-based, convenience sample and identify the prevalence of autism in this sample. In this diagnostic accuracy study including 13 511 children aged 11 to 42 months, maternal and child health nurses were trained to use the Social Attention and Communication Surveillance–Revised (SACS-R) and SACS-Preschool (SACS-PR) tools during well-child checkups at 11 to 30 months of age and at follow-up (at 42 months of age). Those children identified as being at high likelihood for autism underwent diagnostic assessments; results indicated the SACS-R with SACS-PR (SACS-R+PR) had very high diagnostic accuracy for early autism detection. Results of this study suggest that the SACS-R+PR population-based developmental surveillance program may be used universally for the early identification of autism.
Citation
Barbaro, J., Sadka, N., Gilbert, M., Beattie, E., Xia, Li., Ridgeway, L., Lawson, L., Dissanayake, C. (2022) Diagnostic accuracy of the Social Attention and Communication Surveilance–Revised with Preschool tool for early autism detection in very young children. Jama Network Open, 5(3), e2146415. doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.46415

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