As Early as 18 months
Research has found that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. This delay means that children with an ASD might not get the help they need. The earlier an ASD is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
Developmental Screening Tools
Screening tools are designed to help identify children who might have developmental delays. Screening tools do not provide conclusive evidence of developmental delays and do not result in diagnoses. A positive screening result should be followed up with your child’s health care provider immediately if you think something is wrong.
Types of Screening Tools
There are many different developmental screening tools that may be administered by professionals, community service providers, and in some cases, parents. These include:
- Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ)
- Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS)
- Parent’s Evaluation of Development Status (PEDS)
- Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)
- Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children (STAT)
- Observation tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-G)
- The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
- The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
This list is not exhaustive, and other tests are available.
For your convenience, Autism Canada has four online screening tools available based on the age of the individual being screened.
If you suspect you or your loved one has an autism spectrum disorder, please consult with your family doctor, neurologist, psychologist or developmental pediatrician. Otherwise, please visit Autism Junction to find a someone near you for a diagnostic assessment.
Autism Canada does not approve or endorse any specific tools for screening purposes. We are not endorsed or associated with the Autism Research Centre who has kindly allowed us to provide these online screening tools.
They clearly indicate that their tools are posted online for use in academic research purposes. None of them are diagnostic: “No single score on any of these tests or questionnaires indicates that an individual has an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC).”