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for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities
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Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) commonly called Autism

Does your child:

  • Does your child make eye contact while feeding, bathing or talking to him/her.
  • Smile back when smiled at
  • Use his/her index finger to point, to indicate interest in something
  • Follow your gaze or point when you show him/her something interesting
  • Show interest in getting your attention
  • Reach out to be picked up
  • Babble back and forth
  • Respond to your voice or own name

If your child is over six months and under two years old and is not consistently doing the above when you interact with him or her; it is important that you get an assessment done by a specialist who has experience in developmental problems of children.

Screening instruments

Autism (and its broader category Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD) is a disability manifesting in early childhood. It is a disorder of the brain due to which a person's ability to communicate, interact socially, and playing with others are impaired. All over the world more and more children, especially boys, are being recognized as having autistic features.

It is important to recognize the disorder early. If recognized early, then interventions can help the child achieve better functioning.

Free instruments which were developed for professionals but are available in the public domain are being listed below so that health care professionals can identify children showing features of these disorders. When these screening instruments indicate the possibility of Autism, your child should then be referred to an expert at the earliest. Early intervention can help the child and his family lead a better life. Some questionnaires and websites to help people recognize features characteristic of autism are listed below.

The first is the Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism which was developed to help professionals assess the seriousness of Autism features in a given child, and then grade his/her symptoms to evaluate the degree of disability. This Scale was tested on a very large group of children from different parts of India, its reliability and validity has been tested and proven. However in its present form it can be used only by trained professionals. The ISAA is available in several Indian languages.

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers M-CHAT (© 1999 Diana Robins, Deborah Fein, & Marianne Barton) is available online. The English version of M-Chat is available free online with its scoring sheet at https://www.m-chat.org. It has also been translated into Hindi.

The Communication and Symbolic Behaviour Scales Developmental Profile Infant/Toddler Checklist is part of the Communication and Symbolic Behaviour Scales - Developmental Profile CSBS-DP developed by Wetherby and Prizant (2001). This subscale evaluates language, communication and behaviours in children between the ages of 6-24 months. Though the checklist can be filled by the parent, the scoring must be done by a professional.

Many Indian scales have been developed for children but are not listed here since they have not been validated across the country and are not available in other Indian languages.

Free online Screening tools for Autism symptoms
Screening Tool / Rating Scale For Ages (Years) Who Completes Checklist: Number of Items Time to Complete (Minutes) Online address
Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism (ISAA) 3-adult Trained professional 60-90 Click here
Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) 16-30 months Parent: 23 5-10 Click here
Autism Research Institute's Form E-2 Checklist 3-5 Parent: 109 15-20 Click here
Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) 1.5 Parent: 9 Clinician: 5 5 Click here
  Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD is commonly called Autism Neuro- typical: A term used for people who do not have Autism or ASD  
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