Autism screening tools and assessment tools are not the same. Screening tools can help quickly identifying possible developmental “red flags” but do not provide conclusive evidence of developmental delays nor do they result in an actual diagnosis, which is needed by an insurance company in order for the child to access treatment. A positive screening result should always be followed by a thorough assessment. There are many tools to assess ASD in young children, but no single tool should be used as the basis for diagnosis.
Diagnostic tools usually rely on two main sources of information—parents’ or caregivers’ descriptions of their child’s development and a professional’s observation of the child’s behavior.
Specialists that assess and diagnose individuals with autism can include neurodevelopmental pediatricians, developmental-behavioral pediatricians, child neurologists, geneticists, and child psychologists. Below are links to a few common screening tools and assessment tools for diagnostic providers.