Thursday, March 17, 2011

The tests for autism (by name)

What are the tests used to diagnosis and evaluate autism? I have five tests to tell you about that are used for exactly that. I may do you well to ask about them by name. If your child's school has their own diagnosis team, ask them if they use these tests. If they don't you should ask what kind of criteria they follow and get to know it. Click on the abbreviation to learn more about the test at wikipedia.

ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule): Quote from wikipedia: The ADOS generally takes from 30 to 60 minutes to administer. During this time the examiner provides a series of opportunities for the subject to show social and communication behaviors relevant to the diagnosis of autism.[2] Each subject is administered activities from just one of the four modules. The selection of an appropriate module is based on the developmental and language level of the referred individual. The only developmental level not served by the ADOS is that for adolescents and adults who are nonverbal.[1] A revision, the ADOS-2, is currently in development with a release goal date in early 2011. It will include improved algorithms for Modules 1 to 3 and a new Toddler Module that facilitates assessment in children ages 12 to 20 months.

ADIR (Autism Diagnosis Interview Revised): This long interview requires friends and family of the patient to answer questions about the patient in order to determine a diagnosis. It is often used hand in hand with other tests like the ADOS. I've heard it called the world's longest questionnaire.

CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale): Specifically for children, it's not unheard of that school diagnosis teams may use this. Be sure to look at the list of criteria in the link.

ASDS (Asperger's Syndrome Diagnosis Scale): Wikidpedia didn't actually have this one so I had to find a link elsewhere. This test may be a little out of date now since all the forms of autism have been lumped for purpose of diagnosis. Still, you may find the information interesting if not useful.

GAF (Global Assessment of Functioning): The purpose of this test is to see how well you function with your symptoms and if symptoms show themselves or how much they show themselves. My own score was a 45. That puts me in the severe bracket. I can do most of my household things, but burn out quickly and have to rest more than most people do. By the way, as you read the level descriptions, know that there is no frequent shop lifting here (I say with a grin)! This test is also used in determining disability.

So there you have five official and professionally recognized and used tests. Hopefully this gives you a touch more information to use at your fingertips.

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