Male teacher helping 2 girls with their work

Automated Autism Screen Now Available on Autism Speaks Website

Pretend play – a developmental milestone included in the M-CHAT screen. Photo courtesy D. Robins

Autism Speaks is pleased to announce the launch of an automated version of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT™.

The M-CHAT is a scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age to assess their risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was developed by neuropsychologists Diana Robins, Ph.D., and Deborah Fein, Ph.D., and clinical psychologist Marianne Barton, Ph.D. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children

receive autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age, and the M-CHAT is one of the AAP’s recommended tools.

Dr. Robins worked closely with Autism Speaks’ science staff and web team to ensure the usefulness of this online automated version of the M-CHAT. It is not intended to take the place of screening and diagnosis by a trained professional. Rather it is a useful tool that parents can use if they are concerned about their toddler’s development and whether their child should be evaluated by a healthcare provider or developmental specialist.

The M-CHAT’s primary goal is to detect as many cases of ASD as possible. Therefore, a significant number of children whose results show increased risk for ASD will notbe diagnosed with ASD after receiving a more comprehensive evaluation by a specialist. However, a high M-CHAT score suggests that a toddler is at risk for a range of developmental disorders and delays and, therefore, should receive further assessment and, when appropriate, the earliest possible intervention to improve outcomes.

The automated M-CHAT now available on the Autism Speaks website offers free online scoring and recommendations, with the ability to review, print and save the results so that they can be shared with a child’s doctor or other developmental specialist.

Autism Speaks continues to fund a wide range of research on early diagnosis and intervention for infants and toddlers. You can explore these and other studies funded by our supporters by using our Grant Search.

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