Using the Reliable Change Index Statistic to Analyze Developmental Changes in Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Barber, Rachel A.
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Longitudinal studies of the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) provide an understanding of which variables may be important predictors of an ASD. The objective of the current study is to apply the reliable change index (RCI) statistic to examine whether the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (POEMS) is sensitive to developmental change, and whether these changes can be quantified along a child’s developmental trajectory. Ninety-six children with older siblings with autism were followed from 1-36 months of age. Group-based RCI analysis confirms that the POEMS is capable of detecting significant changes within pre-defined diagnostic groups. Within-subject analysis suggests that ongoing monitoring of a child at-risk for an ASD requires interpretation of both significant intervals identified by the RCI statistic, as well as the presence of repeated high (i.e., >70) scores. This study provides preliminary evidence for a reasonably sensitive and specific means by which individual change can be clinically monitored via parent report.