The current most widely used ASD screen in primary care is the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT ).

General Information
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F; Robins, Fein, & Barton, 2009) is a 2-stage parent-report screening tool to assess risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The M-CHAT-R/F is an autism screening tool designed to identify children 16 to 30 months of age who should receive a more thorough assessment for possible early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism-specific screening at 18 and 24 months of age, in addition to broad developmental screening at 9, 18, and 24 months. The M-CHAT-R/F, one of the AAP recommended tools, can be administered at these well-child visits.

A recent American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) survey revealed that more than 80% of clinicians use a screen for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), with 74%, using the Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT)/MCHAT-Revised (MCHAT-R). The AAP recommends administering both broad-band (e.g., Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) & narrow-band (e.g., MCHAT-R) screens focused on detecting children at-risk for mental health, behavior, & developmental disorder/delay. Yet, use of broad-band mental health, behavior, & developmental disorder/delay screens is less common: only 50% of pediatric providers and fewer family practice providers report use of validated, accurate broad-band screens.

If you and your physician agree that further screening is needed, you can request a free developmental assessment through your State Department of Health. We provide the contact information for your state’s local Early Intervention coordinator on your child’s M-CHAT-R/F report.

Early Intervention sites offer further evaluations of your child free-of-charge. These developmental assessments often vary from county to county and may involve a physical exam, a cognitive exam, a hearing assessment, and a speech assessment. In addition to these important components of a thorough evaluation, you may also consider genetic testing and/or specialized assessments provided by a medical geneticist, a clinical psychologist, a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric psychiatrist, or a pediatric neurologist.

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