Are you concerned about your child’s development? Do you think your child might be showing signs of autism? Although the signs of autism can be complicated and specific to each child, parents should always trust their instincts. There are ways to find answers to alleviate or confirm any suspicions you may have. If you think your child might be showing signs of autism, there is a screening tool to help you find guidance.
The M-CHAT Screening Tool
One of the most recognized screening tools is called the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers , or M-CHAT. The M-CHAT is a parent-screening tool intended for children 16 to 30 months of age. This screening tool is designed to identify children who should be referred for a more thorough autism evaluation. Many pediatricians use the M-CHAT as one of the standard developmental screenings at the 18 and 24 month well child check appointment. Depending on the results of the M-CHAT, your pediatrician may refer you to a specialist, such as a Developmental Pediatrician, Pediatric Psychiatrist or Pediatric Neurologist. These specialists are highly trained to identify and diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder in children.
Steps Following the Quiz
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that the M-CHAT be administered by a trained professional. If you have taken the M-CHAT quiz at home, be sure to speak to your pediatrician about your concerns regarding autism regardless of the results of the M-CHAT.
Following a formal Autism diagnosis, you will be provided with recommendations regarding therapy services that can benefit your child, such as early intervention services. Early Intervention can create “substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.“ (Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics 2007).
If you are new to the spectrum, be sure to research your options and learn more about Early Intervention services.