Early Detection Lab, 2019-2020

The Early Detection Lab, Fall 2019.

The Early Detection (ED) Lab is directed by Dr. Deborah Fein and Dr. Marianne Barton. Our research focuses on improving the early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the developmental trajectory of those with ASD, and the provision of early intervention services. Dr. Fein, Dr. Barton, and Dr. Diana Robins (ED Lab alumna) developed the M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R (http://mchatscreen.com). The M-CHAT-R is the most widely used screening tool for ASD. Dr. Fein and Dr. Barton have also published, with collaborators Dr. Lynn Brennan and Dr. Molly Helt, The Activity Kit for Babies and Toddlers at Risk, a book designed to help parents interact with children at risk of developmental delays.

Current Projects

Early Detection Project: What is the best age, and what is the best tool, to screen for autism in well-child checkups? (Collaboration with colleagues at Drexel and Georgia State)

Parent Training Project: Can a website-based parent training program effectively help parents to supplement early intervention?

ACE Project: Do children who are screened for ASD at well-child checkups at 18 months, who then receive early intervention, fare better in the long term than children who are not? (Collaboration with colleagues at Drexel and UC Davis)

Past Projects

Early Detection Study (M-CHAT/M-CHAT-R Validation Study)

Albania Parent Training Project

Sibling Study

Optimal Outcome Study

We graciously thank the following funding sources for support: 

NIH Autism Centers of Excellence

National Institute of Mental Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Autism Speaks


Recent and Representative Publications

Dai, Y., Thomas, R.P., Brennan, L., Helt, M., Barton, M., Dumont-Mathieu, T., Fein, D.A. (2021). Development and acceptability of a new program for caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Online Parent Training in Early Behavioral Intervention. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04863-z

Coulter, K.L., Barton, M.B., Robins, D.L., Stone, W.L., Fein, D.A. (2021) DSM-5 Symptom Expression in Toddlers. Autism. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211000160

Wieckowski, A.T., Thomas, R.P., Chen, C-M.A., Zitter, A., Fein, D.A., Barton, M.L., Adamson, L.B., & Robins, D.L. (2021). Effect of brief training to identify ASD during toddler well-child care visits. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1097/DBP.0000000000000938 

Wieckowski, A.T., Hamner, T., Nanovic, S., Porto, K.S., Coulter, K.L., Eldeeb, S., Chen, C.A., Fein, D.A., Barton, M.L., Adamson, L.B., Robins, D.L. (2021) Early and repeated screening detects autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Pediatrics.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.03.009

Dai, Y.G., Miller, L.E., Ramsey, R.K., Robins, D.L., Fein, D.A., & Dumont-Mathieu, T. (2019). Incremental utility of 24-month Autism Spectrum Disorder screening after negative 18-month screening. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-03959-5

Dai, Y.G., Brennan, L., Como, A., Hughes-Lika, J., Dumont-Mathieu, T., Rathwell, I., Minxhozi, O., Blerina, A., & Fein, D.A. (2018). A video parent-training program for families of children with autism spectrum disorder in Albania. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2018.08.008

Dai, Y.G., Burke, J.D., Naigles, L., Eigsti, I.M., & Fein, D.A. (2018). Language abilities in monolingual- and bilingual- exposed children with autism or other developmental disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2018.08.001

Hinnebusch, A.J., Miller, L.E., & Fein, D.A. (2017). Autism spectrum disorders and low mental age: Diagnostic stability and developmental outcomes in early childhood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(12), 3967-3982. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3278-y

Miller, L.E., Perkins, K.A., Dai, Y.G., & Fein, D.A. (2017). Comparison of parent report and direct assessment of child skills in toddlers. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 41-42, 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2017.08.002

Miller, L.E., Burke, J.D., Troyb, E., Knoch, K., Herlihy, L.E., & Fein, D.A. (2017). Preschool predictors of school-age academic achievement in autism spectrum disorder. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 31(2), 382-403. https://doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2016.1225665

Fein, D., Barton, M., & Dumont-Mathieu, T. (2017). Optimizing Outcome in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Policy Insights From the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 4(1), 71–78. http://doi.org/10.1177/2372732216685098 

Moulton, E., Bradbury, K., Barton, M., & Fein, D. (2016). Factor analysis of the childhood autism rating scale in a sample of two year olds with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2936-9

Robins, D. L., Adamson, L. B., Barton, M., Connell, J. E., Dumont-Mathieu, T., Dworkin, P. H., … Vivanti, G. (2016). Universal Autism Screening for Toddlers: Recommendations at Odds. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(5), 1880–1882. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2697-5

Moulton, E., Barton, M., Robins, D. L., Abrams, D. N., & Fein, D.A. (2016). Early Characteristics of Children with ASD Who Demonstrate Optimal Progress between Age Two and Four. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(6), 2160-2173. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2745-1

Jashar, D. T., Brennan, L. A., Barton, M. L., & Fein, D. (2016). Cognitive and Adaptive Skills in Toddlers Who Meet Criteria for Autism in DSM-IV but not DSM-5. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 46(12), 3667-3677.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2901-7

Brennan, L., Fein, D., Como, A., Rathwell, I. C., & Chen, C. M. (2016). Use of the Modified Checklist for Autism, Revised with Follow Up-Albanian to Screen for ASD in Albania. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 46(11), 3392-3407.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2875-5

Brennan, L., Barton, M., Chen, C. M., Green, J., & Fein, D. (2015). Detecting subgroups in children diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 45(5), 1329-1344. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2295-3 

Hardy, S., Haisley, L., Manning, C., & Fein, D. (2015). Can Screening With the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism? Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics : JDBP36(7), 536–543. http://doi.org/10.1097/DBP.0000000000000201

Barton, M. L., Robins, D. L., Jashar, D., Brennan, L., & Fein, D. (2013). Sensitivity and specificity of proposed DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder in toddlers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(5), 1184-1195. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1817-8 

Fein, D., Barton, M., Eigsti, I.-M., Kelley, E., Naigles, L., Schultz, R. T., … Tyson, K. (2013). Optimal Outcome in Individuals with a History of Autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 54(2), 195–205. http://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12037

Sutera, S., Pandey, J., Esser, E. L., Rosenthal, M. A., Wilson, L. B., Barton, M., … Fein, D. (2007). Predictors of optimal outcome in toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(1), 98–107. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0340-6