Screening Children for Autism in an Urban Clinic Using an Electronic M-CHAT

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The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a screening tool for autism spectrum disorders in the clinic. However, the follow-up questions in the M-CHAT are difficult to implement on a paper format.


To compare the effectiveness of the M-CHAT on an electronic format versus paper format in an outpatient clinic setting.


A prospective study used electronic M-CHAT on the iPad. A retrospective review of paper M-CHATs 6 months prior to implementation was used as the comparison group.


A total of 176 participants completed the electronic M-CHAT format and 197 paper M-CHATs were retrospectively reviewed. The electronic format (3%) resulted in a significant difference in the frequency of children found to be at risk for autism compared with the paper version (11%); 99% of parents rated the experience as “good” or “excellent.”


The electronic format lowered both false at-risk screens and false not-at-risk screens and had higher parental satisfaction.

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