Use of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Instrument in Children with Delayed Speech
Objective : To study the diagnostic accuracy of the pervasive developmental disorders
screening instrument when applied to the screening of autism spectrum disorder in
children presenting with delayed speech.
Methods : This was a population-based study in patients aged 2-5 years who came to
the hospital with delayed speech. Scores from the pervasive developmental disorders
screening instrument, where caregivers of the children responded to the questions
prior to the patients seeing the specialist, were compared with the diagnosis rendered
by the specialist, who evaluated the patients using standard diagnostic tools for autism
Results : Seventy out of 84 patients in total (83.3%) were diagnosed with autism
spectrum disorder. It was found that, at the cut-off score of 2 or greater, the screening
form yielded a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 71.4% While the cut-off score at 4,
the screening provided the sensitivity of 47.1% and the specificity of 100%.
Conclusion: In patients presenting with delayed speech. The cut-off score at 2 is
suggested when using the test for screening ASD. However, the cut-off score at 4 is
suggested when using the test to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis of ASD.
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