ESSENCE-Q - dash; a first clinical validation study of a new screening questionnaire for young children with suspected neurodevelopmental problems in south Japan

Fernell, E., Hatakenaka, Y., Sakaguchi, M., Ninomiya, H., Fukunaga, I. and Gillberg, C. (2016) ESSENCE-Q - dash; a first clinical validation study of a new screening questionnaire for young children with suspected neurodevelopmental problems in south Japan. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, pp. 1739-1746. (doi: 10.2147/NDT.S108411) (PMID:27478377) (PMCID:PMC4951052)

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Abstract

Background: Early identification of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual developmental disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders/problems is crucial, yet diagnosis is often delayed for years under the often misguided “wait-and-see” paradigm. The early symptomatic syndromes eliciting neurodevelopmental clinical examinations-questionnaire (ESSENCE-Q) is a brief (12-item) screening questionnaire developed specifically for the purpose of speeding up the identification process of a wide variety of neurodevelopmental problems. The aims were to 1) estimate the reliability of the ESSENCE-Q, 2) evaluate the clinical cutoff levels suggested by the author of the ESSENCE-Q, and 3) propose optimal cutoff levels based on receiver operating characteristic analysis. Methods: The ESSENCE-Q was used for 1 year by a psychiatrist in Kochi, Japan, assessing children under the age of 6 years referred for developmental problems. The children were also clinically assessed with regard to whether or not they met criteria for a developmental disorder (diagnosis positive and diagnosis negative groups). We contrasted the results of the ESSENCE-Q and those of clinical diagnostic assessments in 130 cases. Results: Cronbach’s alpha was 0.82, sensitivity was 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.88, 0.98]), and specificity 0.53 (95% CI: [0.28, 0.77]), which are reasonable psychometrics for a first-step screening tool. Based on receiver operating characteristic analysis, we recommended an optimal cutoff level of yes ≥2 or maybe/a little ≥3 on the ESSENCE-Q (0.87 (95% CI: [0.79, 0.92]) sensitivity and 0.77 (95% CI: [0.50, 0.93]) specificity). Conclusion and implication: The ESSENCE-Q can be a good instrument for use as a screening tool for aiding in the process of early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders in clinical settings. To establish the broader validity and reliability of the ESSENCE-Q, case–control studies and general population studies of children in different age groups are needed.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gillberg, Professor Christopher
Authors: Fernell, E., Hatakenaka, Y., Sakaguchi, M., Ninomiya, H., Fukunaga, I., and Gillberg, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Publisher:Dove Medical Press
ISSN:1176-6328
ISSN (Online):1178-2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Hatakenaka et al.
First Published:First published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 12:1739-1746
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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