Autism Assessment Instruments
When assessing autism, we use different standard tools to assess the person under observation. A few of the most common ones are listed below.
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) is a standardised assessment of communication, social interaction and imaginative use of materials conducted with the person under assessment. It lasts about 1 hour. The ADOS-2 consists of standard activities that allow the examiner to observe behaviours that have been identified as important to the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders at different developmental levels and chronological ages. It involves a number of tasks and conversational items that are different according to the level of expressed language, ranging from imitation play and use of balloons and bubbles for preschool children to telling a story from a book, use of creative play and questions for adolescents and adults; in any case the tasks are designed to elicit social interaction and understanding. The ADOS-2 is an internationally recognised tool to assist the clinical assessment and contributes both observations and quantifiable results via the diagnostic algorithm and the comparison score.
The Autism Diagnostic Interview
The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) is a clinical diagnostic instrument to be used with parents when assessing autism in children and adults. This very detailed interview focuses on behaviour in three main areas: qualities of reciprocal social interaction; communication and language; and restricted and repetitive, stereotyped interests and behaviours, trying to gather examples from early childhood (4-5 years of age) and at the time of the assessment. It lasts 2-3 hours.