Screening & Diagnostic Evaluation

ASD-Specific Developmental Screening and Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

If a routine developmental screening raises concerns, your pediatrician may opt to perform an Autism Spectrum Disorder-specific development screening. The ASD-Specific Developmental Screening for Autism takes less than five minutes an requires the parent completing the form in the physician’s waiting room or with the assistance of a nurse, physician, or other professional in the examination room.

There are a variety of screening tools for autism, but they share a common goal. An autism screening enables a physician to assess, through a combination of observations and interactions, suspected deficits in three core areas of the disorder: social skills, communication and behaviors/interests.  All the screening tools vary with respect to age at which the tool should be administered, accuracy, and languages available. Autism screening tools have limitations, particularly when it comes to well-validated screening tools for children younger than 18 months.

Until recently, screening tools did not identify children with mild ASD, such as those with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome. Today there are reliable tools for identifying school-age with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome such as the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire or Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test. These tools focus on social and behavioral impairments in children without significant language delay. 

To view a listing of autism screening tools compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics,

The second step of diagnosis is comprehensive evaluation. Thorough evaluations will include clinical observations, parent interviews, developmental histories, psychological testing, speech and language assessments, etc.  A comprehensive evaluation may also include: physical, neurological and genetic testing.

Some popular autism diagnostic tools include:


Autism Diagnosis Interview ADI-R
Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule-Geriatric ADOS-G
Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)