Screening for autism spectrum disorder involves only one test, which is the developmental screening test, as noted by the National Institute of Mental Health. Doctors use screening instruments during the first step to determine if a patient requires additional tests. Parents' experiences and concerns about a child are relevant to the screening process.
Parents should keep notes about the development of their children, examining family photos and videos to identify any unusual behavior. The development screening test involves the use of several instruments, including the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year-Olds and the Social Communication Questionnaire.
Part of the screening involves talking and playing with the child. This helps a doctor to observe how the child speaks, moves, behaves and learns. Slow response in any of these areas could be an indication of a problem. A child should receive screening at 9 months, 18 months and 24 or 30 months, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The second part of the diagnosis is a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, which includes observing a child's behavior and development. Numerous professionals, such as speech therapists, neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists, perform the evaluation to assess language level, adaptive behavior and cognitive level.