Autism screening

A young girl laughing while laying in a ball pit filled with blue and white balls

There is no medical autism test, like a blood test, to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Instead, experienced medical professionals examine a person’s developmental history and behavior, interview and observe the person and their loved ones, and use professional screening and diagnostic tools to make a diagnosis.

While an autism diagnosis can only be given by a health care professional, there are several screening tools that can alert parents, caregivers and autistic people to potential autism symptoms. Early screening for autism can impact access to services and supports, which in turn can influence future outcomes for autistic individuals.

The screening tools below are designed to help identify children and adults who might have ASD. This list is not exhaustive and other tests are available. Please note that a positive result on a screening tool is NOT a diagnosis. A positive screening result should be followed by a thorough assessment by a health care professional.

Autism screening tools

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R)

For ages 16 to 30 months

The M-CHAT-R is a free parent-completed questionnaire that will ask a series of 20 questions about your child’s behavior. You can use the results of the screener to discuss any concerns that you may have with your child’s healthcare provider. Take the 2-minute screening questionnaire.

Take the M-CHAT-R

Social Attention and Communication Surveillance, Revised (SACS-R) and SACS-Preschool (SACS-PR) Tools

For ages 12 to 60 months

The SACS-R and SACS-PR are autism screening tools developed by La Trobe University and designed to identify behaviors that are characteristic of children on the spectrum from as young as 12 months old through preschool. This tool is meant to be administered by a trained psychologist, early childhood educator, allied health professional or other professional.

Social Challenges Screening Questionnaire (SCSQ)

For school-aged children

Developed to be taken by parents, educators and medical professionals, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s (SARRC) 15-question Social Challenges Screening Questionnaire can identify children who may have symptoms that were once characterized as Asperger syndrome, now level 1 ASD.

Take the Social Challenges Screening Questionnaire

Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test

For ages 16+ years

The Autism Spectrum Quotient Test is a self-administered 50-question questionnaire used to measure autistic traits in adolescents and adults aged 16+. The questionnaire is suitable for people with an IQ over 80.

Take the Autism Spectrum Quotient Test

Need more information or support?

Autism Speaks' Autism Response Team (ART) can help you with information, resources and opportunities.

Find local providers and services in your area with the Autism Speaks Resource Guide.

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