People often ask me questions about autism. What does autism look like? What causes autism? Sometimes people ask me questions about someone they know. Does my child have autism? Do I have autism? I am always happy to answer what questions I can; however, it is not ethical for me to delve into specifics for someone who is not my client, so I often refer people to free, online screeners. A screener simply “screens” for certain red flags. It is not a diagnostic tool, but if enough red flags pop up on a screener, then it is a good idea to look into further testing and more formal diagnostics.
The most common autism screener for young children is the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers). It is simple to use and it is scored automatically for you online.
When it comes to individuals with “high functioning autism”, or what was previously referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, there are several checklists you can buy, but there are also a few freebies online.
Remember, these are only screeners. If you suspect that your child is developmentally delayed, be sure to talk with your doctor or other medical professionals. If you have concerns, you can also call the Early Intervention agency in your area (birth to three), or contact your local school district (ages 3-22).