Date of Conferral







Peggy Gallaher


AbstractAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in toddlers. The prevalence of this disorder continues to increase, necessitating an early screening tool to support early diagnosis and intervention. Although the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised (M-CHAT-R) has been cross-culturally effective for screening ASD, little research has been done on early screening for ASD characteristics in Ghana. In the current study, the M-CHAT-R was completed by parents (N = 90) of ASD and non-ASD children between the ages of 16 to 60 months at selected special schools and hospitals in Ghana to determine its sensitivity and specificity to accurately diagnose ASD. Findings from the study confirm that at a cut-off score of 3, sensitivity was 0.98 and specificity was 0.73. Item-by-item analysis was conducted to determine good and poor discriminating items. Overall, Item 7 (Does your child point with one finger to show you something interesting?) was identified as the best discriminating item, whereas Item 13 (Does your child walk?) was identified as the poor discriminating item. Selected healthcare professionals (N = 40) who evaluated the screening tool also confirmed that the M-CHAT-R is culturally appropriate for screening ASD characteristics and should therefore be adapted in Ghana. Further investigation is appropriate to consolidate the predictive validity of the M-CHAT-R; however, the overall outcome indicates a step toward validating the M-CHAT-R and its adaptation for future use in Ghana. Adapting the M-CHAT-R will contribute to positive social change as at-risk children will benefit from early diagnosis and intervention, leading to positive impact on their quality of life and well-being.