Validation of Rapid Interactive Screening Test for Autism in Toddlers (RITA-T) in a Chinese Population

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 4, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
X. Kong1, M. Koh2 and J. Kong3, (1)Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, (2)Radiology, Massachusetts general hospital, Charlestown, MA, (3)MGH, MA, MA

A growing body of evidence confirms that early diagnosis and intervention significantly impact the prognosis of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The average age for diagnosis is currently around 3-4 years, but many ASD individuals start to show signs as early as infancy. Development of an easily applied early detection tool and screening test has become imperative and has drawn a great amount of attention in recent years.


The Rapid Interactive screening Test for Autism in Toddlers (RITA-T, published in 2015) is a recently developed test for early ASD detection. However, its feasibility and variation in sensitivity have never been assessed in an Asian population. The aim of this study is to evaluate this new screening method on children with an ethnically or culturally Chinese background and propose improvements and modifications to benefit more children at high risk for ASD.


In this ongoing study, 14 Chinese children (age range from 1.5 to 4, average 2.7) living in the US were recruited. All participants met the following inclusion criteria: 1) aged 1-6 years old; 2) parents or teacher recommend further examination based on their observation or a preliminary screening; 3) Younger sibling of ASD individuals; 4) higher risk population based on survey, with established perinatal risk factor.


Preliminary analysis showed a significant correlation between the ADOS score and RITA-T score (Spearman’s correlation, rho = 0.72, p =0.004). Based on the ADOS assessment, 13 children were diagnosed with ASD. With a cut line of 16 (RITA-T score), we found a sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 33%. We also administered an eye tracking test with a paradigm developed in our lab; the data analysis is still ongoing.


Our preliminary results provided important proof-of-concept information on early screening using RITA-T, which may serve as a basis for further investigations.