Nicola’s guest post: Have you ever wondered how autism is diagnosed? – Mail Online

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Well last week I went on a training course called ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) which along with

1) a parent & school questionnaire and

2) a classroom/home observation, forms one of the integral components of a multi-professional team achieving an ‘autism’ diagnosis. 

So those who thought an autism diagnosis could be made on whether a child gives eye-contact or not – you are sorely mistaken.  These are the areas an ADOS assessment covers i.e. if your child is having difficulties in these areas, you ought to seek help and support from a local health professional:

Language and communication 

Echoing spoken language

Reduced frequency of spontaneous vocalisations

Unusual intonation patterns of vocalisations

Over using pre-learned phrases

Using another person’s body as a tool such as placing their hand on a toy to get their help 

Reduced pointing

Reduced use of gestures

Reciprocal Social Interaction

Unusual eye contact

Reduced response to an adult’s smile

Reduced facial expression to others

Reduced ability to initiate communication

Reduced shared enjoyment of interaction

Reduced response to name

Reduced ability to request

Reduced ability to show or give something to an adult to receive their response to it

Reduced focus 

Reduced ability to attempt to communicate with another person

Reduced ability to engage with an adult

Poor quality of rapport


Reduced functional play with an object

Reduced imagination and creativity

Usual sensory interest in play or people

Evidence of behaviours that are aggressive acts to oneself or others

Unusual repetitive interests of behaviours



Increased tantrums, negative or disruptive behaviour for age

Increased anxiety

If you are concerned about your child’s social interaction, social communication, social imagination or sensory skills, please go straight to your health visitors and ask for help.

See you next week.

Nicola, Speech and Language Therapist, Head of The Owl Centre ,Author of Small Talk

P.S in other news such as my car …. absolutely sweet FA. But I’ve been sleeping much better this week after having horrible flashbacks particularly at night for the first few nights.  Hey ho.

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