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Type of Measure: The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT™) is a developmental screening instrument intended to identify children at risk for autism and other developmental delays. The MCHAT-Revised with follow-up (MCHAT-R/F) was released in 2013 and is the version recommended by the authors.

Target Population: Children aged 16 to 30 months.

Measurement properties and previous use: The M-CHAT™ is widely used in research and for developmental screening. The initial study to evaluate the M-CHAT™ reported a sensitivity of 0.87, specificity of 0.99 and positive predictive value of 0.80.

A study in Pediatrics reports: “The reliability and validity of the M-CHAT-R/F were demonstrated, and optimal scoring was determined by using receiver operating characteristic curves. Children whose total score was ≥3 initially and ≥2 after follow-up had a 47.5% risk of being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.41–0.54) and a 94.6% risk of any developmental delay or concern (95% CI: 0.92–0.98). Total score was more effective than alternative scores. An algorithm based on 3 risk levels is recommended to maximize clinical utility and to reduce age of diagnosis and onset of early intervention. The M-CHAT-R detects ASD at a higher rate compared with the M-CHAT while also reducing the number of children needing the follow-up. Children in the current study were diagnosed 2 years younger than the national median age of diagnosis.”

Languages: Numerous translations are made available on the authors’ website, including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, French Canadian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Icelandi, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Kurdish, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Somalian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Turkish, Vietnamese, Urdu.

Authors and Citations: M-CHAT™ Instrument: M-CHAT™; Robins, Fein, & Barton, 1999

Robins DL, Fein D, Barton ML, Green JA. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers: an initial study investigating the early detection of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. 2001;31(2):131–144.

M-CHAT Follow-up interview: Kleinman, J.M., Robins, D.L., Ventola, P.E., Pandey, J., Boorstein, H.C., Esser, E.L., Wilson, L.B., Rosenthal, M.A., Sutera, S., Verbalis, A.D., Marshia, G., Barton, M. Hodgson, S., Green, J., Dumont-Mathieu, T., Volkmar, F., Chawarska, K., Klin, A., & Fein, D. (2008). The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers: A follow-up study investigating the early detection of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Available at JADD Online First, September 20, 2007.

M-CHAT™ Revised: M-CHAT-R/F; Robins, Fein, & Barton, 2009

Numerous additional references and articles available on the authors’ website.

Licence: via The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT™; Robins, Fein, & Barton, 1999) and MCHAT-R/F are available for free download for clinical, research, and educational purposes.

The authors place several restrictions on the use of the M-CHAT™ and M-CHAT-R/F (briefly summarized here, full description on the authors’ website.):

  1. Reprints must retain the original copyright, no modification without permission of Authors
  2. M-CHAT must be given in its entirety
  3. Must ask permission to include the M-CHAT in other materials
  4. Allows for M-CHAT in electronic medical records if part of medical practice.

Link to measure: M-CHAT-R/F, M-CHAT Follow-Up Interview, and original M-CHAT are all available on the M-CHAT Official Website

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