Although I can usually spot many features associated with Autism from the initial evaluation I have with a child, it should be noted that Autism, can only be confirmed through a series of in-depth evaluations and often times, conducted by a multi-disciplinary team comprising: a paediatrician/paediatric neurologist, speech therapist and psychologist.
That said, many under-served countries, such as Kenya, haven’t put guidelines around how a diagnosis of Autism can be confirmed. So, you find nurses, teachers, therapists, you name it throwing around the Autism diagnosis to children, who for whatever reason, were uncooperative or inattentive during an evaluation.
There are many markers for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which even without undergoing an in- depth assessment, can point to red flags to Autism. And because parents have already consulted “Dr Google” before seeking an evaluation with a related specialist, it can be helpful to consult credible sources that can assist in identifying specific red flags, which can then prompt you to seek further assessment or if none is available, at least can have you prioritise speech therapy or other services.
The children with Autism we have offered early speech therapyto have gone on to talk, talk clearly and to be independent learners in mainstream schools. Let the results of the M-CHAT-R “screener” below prompt you to act rather than panic.
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R) developed by Robins, Fein & Bartons, is a screener that will ask 20 related questions about your child’s behavior. Please answer these questions if your child is between 16 and 30 months of age. The results will let you know if your child needs further evaluation. You can use the results of the screener to discuss any concerns that you may have with your child’s healthcare provider.
Please answer questions to reflect your child's usual behaviours. If the behaviour is rare (e.g., you've seen it only once or twice), answer as if the child has not acquired the behaviour.