Autism is diagnosed in a variety of ways, using a number of different measures. In North America, the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. In Europe and other parts of the world, the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases) is commonly used.
One measure that has particular appeal is the CHecklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT). The CHAT is a highly accurate, and elegant autism screening tool for early autism diagnosis. Research supporting the CHAT is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (1996, 168, pp. 158-163; 1992, 161, pp. 839-843). These studies have found that the CHAT is 85% accurate in diagnosing children with autism and 100% accurate in diagnosing a developmental delay in general. Over the years, this screening tool has been modified and improved and is now referred to as the M-CHAT.
The M-CHAT tool may be given to primary care physicians and pediatricians who see young children first and are the entry point into the health care system for infants and toddlers. The earlier these health care professionals can confirm a diagnosis of autism, the more effective behavioural treatment is likely to be. The M-CHAT is meant to be used with children 18 months of age or older.
If you would like to screen your child or give the M-CHAT to your physician to help you or others, please click below: