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Step 2: Screen Your Child and Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

If examining developmental milestones and understanding the signs of autism lead you to believe your child might be at risk, a developmental screening is essential. Doctors, teachers, and nurses use developmental screening to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have problems.

Click here to read a Developmental Screening fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

To see if your child is meeting developmental milestones:

Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, Third Edition from Easter Seals
This is a 10-20 minute questionnaire that will help screen for a developmental delay. The results of this ASQ-3™ from Easter Seals will help you see if your child's developmental progress is on time and alert you to concerns that you can talk over with your health care provider.

To take an autism-specific screener:

Pretend play (photos courtesy Diana Robins)Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (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. The primary goal is to detect as many cases of ASD as possible. 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.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

If these screenings reveal that your child's developmental progress is not on time, it is time for a proper evaluation. Tell your child's pediatrician about your concerns and ask for an evaluation. He or she can refer you to a physician or psychologist for a more thorough evaluation and possible diagnosis.

It is important to address your concerns as soon as possible!

Step 3: Access Early Intervention Services 

Back to Step 1