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Autism Screener for Young Children

Technology #s2016-085

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Autism Screener for Young Children - Patient Care License
Autism Screener for Young Children - Non-Commercial, Research Use
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Walter Zahorodny
Dr. Zahorodny is an Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers University. He is the director of New Jersey Autism Study (NJAS), an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) monitoring system, established by researchers at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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Dan Benderly
Andrea Dick
Associate Director, Licensing 848-932-4018

Effective screening during the toddler period may lead to timely detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  The Psychological Development Questionnaire-1 is a brief parent-report questionnaire designed to represent the expression of social attention, communication and reciprocity is young children and, inversely, to detect children at-risk for ASD.


Researchers at Rutgers University have created a screening instrument comprised of a ten-item parent-report questionnaire.  Parents answer questions about a child's development on a 3-point (0-2) scale and the weighted answers are summed to yield a total score.  The questionnaire can be self-administered or administered verbally in less than two minutes and scored in less than two minutes.  A total score less than or equal to 12 represents deficits consistent with ASD.  Scores of 13 to 15 are considered borderline and scores greater than 16 reflect appropriate levels of early psychological development.

A pilot study of the screening instrument showed it was concordant with established (gold-standard) autism tests and had good retest reliability.

The screening instrument has been shown to be effective.  It was tested prospectively through 16 cooperating pediatric programs in Essex and Union Counties in New Jersey.  Approximately 2,000 healthy children, without developmental problems or suspected delay participated in the study and the instrument detected close to 2 dozen children with ASD. 

Market Applications:

  • Clinical settings such as pediatrician and family practice offices
  • Parents


  • Easy and quick to administer, complete and score
  • Has clear cut-off (screen positive) threshold score
  • Requires no training to administer or score
  • Based entirely on parent-provided information
  • Does not require follow-up interview to rule-out false positives

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Available through license or distribution agreement.

For information about commercial licenses contact:  Andrea Dick