An article recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders details the work being done by principal investigator, Roula Choueiri, MD, from the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at University of Massachusetts Medical School/Children’s Medical Center in Worcester. The article highlights the testing of a screening model using the Rapid Interactive Screening Test for Autism in Toddlers (RITA-T) to improve the detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study was done in collaboration with the Thom Worcester Area Early Intervention program.
According to Dr. Choueiri, Thom Worcester Area was the first early intervention program in Massachusetts to collaborate on the validation of the RITA-T and this allowed the investigators to test the idea of improving early detection of Autism in young children by including the RITA-T as a tool in early intervention. By doing so, toddlers are identified, seen, and provided access to services much earlier. With the help of key staff at Thom Worcester Area, the program was able to get trained on use of the tool, implement its use into the program operations, and provide feedback to the investigators about its clinical integration.
The RITA-T has since been validated and staff at most early intervention programs across the state have been trained on the tool. We congratulate Dr. Choueiri and her team for their success with the validation of this screening tool and Thom Worcester Area looks forward to continuing this collaborative effort. The full article can be accessed here.