Internet and the M-CHAT

It took me less than a week to diagnose Guto. Yeah, you read it right, I diagnosed him! Besides, isn’t that what google is for? Jokes aside, I searched all kinds of websites to read more about autism. I ended up finding a really good tool to help me verify if my diagnosis made any sense, if I was on the right track and if I fear about my son being autistic was correct.

The M-CHAT-R is a validated instrument for screening toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age used to assess the risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).The primary goal of the M-CHAT-R is to maximize sensitivity, meaning to detect as many cases of ASD as possible. Therefore, there is a high false-positive rate, meaning that not all children who score at risk will be diagnosed with ASD. To address this, there are Follow-Up questions (M-CHAT-R/F). Users should be aware that even with the Follow-Up, a significant number of the children who screen positive on the M-CHAT-R will not be diagnosed with ASD; however, these children are at high risk for other developmental disorders or delays, and therefore, such evaluation is warranted for any child who screens positive. The M-CHAT-R can be scored in less than two minutes. (2009 Diana Robins, Deborah Fein, & Marianne Barton) The score ranges from 0-20, where from 0-3 is low risk for ASD, 3-7 medium risk and 8-20 high risk. Guto scored 8 on the M-CHART-R and it was high again on the follow up questionnaire. 

You can assess your child’s risk level here

So now I was in a battle against time to get him a real evaluation by a professional. Everything I read regarding ASD said that early intervention was the key for a better outcome, and I was determined to get him started in whatever intervention was necessary as soon as humanly possible. I can tell you one thing for sure; I never imagined it was going to be this hard to get the evaluation!

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