A Closer Look at Autism Screening Tools

A Closer Look at Autism Screening Tools

An essential aspect of assessing autism involves employing one or more screening assessments administered by the clinician to evaluate the child's condition accurately. These autism screening tests aid in making a precise diagnosis, with the clinician selecting a tool based on factors such as the child's age, the specific conditions to be assessed, and the domains covered by the tool. Various screening tools for autism assist psychologists in identifying autism symptoms and distinguishing them from other developmental disorders.

Commonly used screening tools include:

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-up (M-CHAT-R/F):

This tool comprises 20 questions that help assess the child's behaviour to determine the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), categorised into low, medium, or high risk. It is suitable for toddlers aged 16 to 30 months and features a follow-up component for positive screens. Its popularity stems from its brief completion time of 5-10 minutes and straightforward scoring system.

Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS):

CARS is a 15-item scale used by professionals to identify autism in children aged two and older, distinguishing it from other developmental conditions. The scale evaluates various behaviours, including social interaction, adaptation to change, and nonverbal communication. 

CARS-2 is the updated version, featuring three forms tailored for different age groups and communication abilities. CARS-2 consists of three forms as follows:

  • The Standard Version Rating Booklet (ST) is for children under six years of age facing communication challenges or possessing below-average IQs.
  • The High-Functioning Version Rating Booklet (HF) evaluates children aged six and above with verbal fluency and IQ scores exceeding 80.
  • The Questionnaire for Parents or Caregivers (QPC) is an ungraded tool designed to collect data for ST and HF assessments.

Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children (STAT™):

STAT is favoured by professionals for its interactive nature, assessing social and communicative behaviours through 12 activities. Administered in 20 minutes, it targets children aged 24 to 36 months, aiding in early autism screening by various community professionals.

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2):

ADOS is a widely used standardised assessment tool applicable to both children and adults. It features semi-structured play or interview sessions to observe behaviours related to autism diagnostic criteria with age-appropriate social activities. Five modules accommodate individuals based on age, developmental, and language levels.

Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism (ISAA):

Developed by the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, ISAA is mandated for autism assessment in India. It comprises 40 items across six domains that require clinician observation of various behaviours and a detailed informant interview to assess social responsiveness, communication, behaviour patterns, and cognitive aspects tailored to the Indian context.

Wrapping Up

The availability of various screening tools plays a crucial role in the process of autism spectrum disorder evaluation. Each tool offers unique advantages, catering to different age groups, communication levels, and cultural contexts. By employing these tools, clinicians can accurately identify ASD symptoms, differentiate them from other developmental conditions, and facilitate early intervention. 

Taking swift action is necessary upon detection as it can contribute to the child’s well-being and quality of life. Neurosmart syrup by Nisarga Herbs is a solution that can help boost a child’s cognitive health. It improves focus, concentration, attentiveness and coordination in children diagnosed with this condition. Neurosmart is an ayurvedic syrup that aids children with autism without any side effects.

Ultimately, the use of screening assessments not only aids in the timely diagnosis of ASD but also allows for swift interventions and solutions, like Nurosmart Syrup.
doctor image

Dr. Arati Soman

Dr. Arati Soman is a seasoned Ayurvedic physician and Head Formulator at Nisarga Herbs. Driven by a deep passion for Ayurveda and vast expertise, she has been instrumental in formulating medicines, diagnostic procedures, and innovative Ayurvedic treatments that are trusted globally.