Infant and dyadic assessment in early community-based screening for autism spectrum disorder with the PREAUT grid

Bertrand Olliac, Graciela Crespin, Marie Christine Laznik, Oussama Cherif Idrissi El Ganouni, Jean Louis Sarradet, Colette Bauby, Anne Marie Dandres, Emeline Ruiz, Claude Bursztejn, Jean Xavier, Bruno Falissard, Nicolas Bodeau, David Cohen, Catherine Saint-Georges

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24 Scopus citations


Background: The need for early treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) necessitates early screening. Very few tools have been prospectively tested with infants of less than 12 months of age. The PREAUT grid is based on dyadic assessment through interaction and shared emotion and showed good metrics for predicting ASD in very-high-risk infants with West syndrome. Methods: We assessed the ability of the PREAUT grid to predict ASD in low-risk individuals by prospectively following and screening 12,179 infants with the PREAUT grid at four (PREAUT-4) and nine (PREAUT-9) months of age. A sample of 4,835 toddlers completed the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) at 24 months (CHAT-24) of age. Children who were positive at one screening (N = 100) were proposed a clinical assessment (including the Children Autism Rating Scale, a Developmental Quotient, and an ICD-10-based clinical diagnosis if appropriate) in the third year of life. A randomly selected sample of 1,100 individuals who were negative at all screenings was followed by the PMI team from three to five years of age to identify prospective false negative cases. The clinical outcome was available for 45% (N = 45) of positive children and 52.6% (N = 579) of negative children. Results: Of the 100 children who screened positive, 45 received a diagnosis at follow-up. Among those receiving a diagnosis, 22 were healthy, 10 were diagnosed with ASD, seven with intellectual disability (ID), and six had another developmental disorder. Thus, 50% of infants positive at one screening subsequently received a neurodevelopmental diagnosis. The PREAUT grid scores were significantly associated with medium and high ASD risk status on the CHAT at 24 months (odds ratio of 12.1 (95%CI: 3.0–36.8), p < 0.001, at four months and 38.1 (95%CI: 3.65–220.3), p < 0.001, at nine months). Sensitivity (Se), specificity, negative predictive values, and positive predictive values (PPVs) for PREAUT at four or nine months, and CHAT at 24 months, were similar [PREAUT-4: Se = 16.0 to 20.6%, PPV = 25.4 to 26.3%; PREAUT-9: Se = 30.5 to 41.2%, PPV = 20.2 to 36.4%; and CHAT-24: Se = 33.9 to 41.5%, PPV = 27.3 to 25.9%]. The repeated use of the screening instruments increased the Se but not PPV estimates [PREAUT and CHAT combined: Se = 67.9 to 77.7%, PPV = 19.0 to 28.0%]. Conclusions: The PREAUT grid can contribute to very early detection of ASD and its combination with the CHAT may improve the early diagnosis of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0188831
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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