Objectives: This study was designed to investigate whether infants identified as having elevated scores on the First Year Inventory (FYI), an instrument designed to identify infants at risk for developing autism, continued to show elevated scores at 3-years-old on the Social Responsiveness Scale-Toddler Version (SRS-T). Parental report information regarding developmental concerns and diagnosis information was used as an additional index of child symptoms.
Methods: A community based sample of 1360 families that had completed the FYI when their child was 12-months were mailed the SRS-T and the Developmental Concerns Questionnaire (DCQ) following their child’s third birthday. 836 questionnaires were returned. SRS-T summary scores were computed according to the instrument developer’s directions. Diagnostic information and parental concerns were recorded from the DCQs. Results: There was a significant relationship between the FYI (12m) and SRS-T (36m) scores (r=.36, p < .0001), but this relationship is greatly influenced by a substantial number of children with low scores at both time points. 18 children had scores ≥98% on the FYI and 10 children had scores ≥99% on the SRS-T. These numbers include four children that met cut-offs on both instruments: two had parental reports/diagnosis information consistent with autism, one had a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder and one child has issues with language development. Six children met the SRS-T cut-off and not FYI cut-off; of these four had parental reports/diagnosis information consistent with autism.
Conclusions: An elevated score on the FYI provides a good, though not perfect, index for early screening efforts. Further efforts to refine the scoring criterion may provide better sensitivity and specificity.