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The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™) is a scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The original version, the MCHAT, was developed by neuropsychologists Diana Robins and Deborah Fein and clinical psychologist Marianne Barton. The revision, which improves specificity, was released in December 2013 and has been updated here.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age, and the M-CHAT-R is one of the AAP’s recommended tools.
The M-CHAT-R's primary goal is to detect as many cases of ASD as possible. However, no screening tool is perfect. To improve the accuracy of the tool, the authors developed a structured M-CHAT-R Follow-up Interview™.
Even with the follow-up questions, a significant number of children whose results show risk for ASD will not meet the diagnostic criteria on a more comprehensive evaluation by a specialist. Nonetheless, these children are at risk for a range of developmental disorders and delays and should receive further evaluation. A child should likewise be referred for further evaluation any time a parent or professional has persistent concerns about autism, even if the child does not show ASD risk on the M-CHAT-R. If you and/or your physician feel that further screening is needed, you can request a free developmental assessment through your state department of health. Click here for a state-by-state directory.