The University of Cambridge recently conducted research to detect autism as early as toddlerhood. This simple questionnaire, also known as the Quantitative Checklist for Autism or Q-CHAT, can be utilized to identify autism within a span of 18 to 30 months of children's age.

Q-CHAT: Brief Questionnaire for Autism Detection

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Cambridge's Autism Research Centre had experts that conducted the examination with a large population of toddlers. Nearly 4,000 participants are the basis of the data gathered, all with the help of a parent-report system, the Quantitative Checklist for Autism, that the neurologists developed. The toddler subject screening began at 18 months of age and was followed up at 4 years.

The Q-CHAT was already a revised version of the initial CHAT developed in the 1990s by the same experts that authored the recent study. The new instrument was an improved form of the 1990s CHAT and includes the initial key composition along with the additional items. Q-CHAT is comprised of examinations on the language development, sensory and repetitive behaviors, and other factors that correlates with communication behavior.

Q-CHAT's development was published in the journal BMJ Paedatrics Open, entitled "Quantitative checklist for autism in toddlers (Q-CHAT). A population screening study with follow-up: the case for multiple time-point screening for autism." According to the study, the questionnaires that help to identify autism in toddlers are consolidated in a 25-item checklist that has a wide variety of response options. These questions can be answered through a response in form of a five-point scale, which can accurately give precise results that relates to vast specific traits.

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Q-CHAT for Toddlers is Advancement in Neuroscience, Possible to Work on Autism Detection in Adults

Phase one of the Q-CHAT research had invited more than 13,000 caregivers to participate, with their child 18 to 20 months of age at the time. Almost 4,000 of the caregivers have responded with their Q-CHAT checklist, and among them, 121 subjects were invited for diagnostic assessment, Neuroscience News reports.

Phase two proceeded when the children reached 4 years of age. This phase included the Childhood Autism Screening Test or CAST, and other checklists that inquired if the children had been diagnosed with other developmental conditions, such as autism, in between the phases. These developmental screenings are also used by other specialists around the globe.

The sensitivity and specificity of the Q-CHAT on phase two is 44 and 98 percent, respectively. In addition, the positive predictive value from the Q-CHAT is 28 percent.

The autism questionnaire proves that the early detection and diagnosis of the condition at an early age is possible. With that said, Q-CHAT could be an essential medical instrument in the future, as it has the capability to identify the autism condition as early as toddlerhood and secure family support towards the diagnosed patient, reports News-MedicalNet.The autism checklist can possibly be utilized for adults because many of the population might have missed undergoing assessment due to a lack of funds in their childhood. In conclusion, Q-CHAT is indeed a huge step for neurology advancements.

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