When assessing a person for Autism, we use the autism diagnostic observation schedule, 2nd edition, (ADOS-2) as part of our assessment.
The ADOS-2 is a standardised assessment which contributes towards identifying a young person as autistic. A speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, clinical psychologist or paediatrician will carry out the assessment.
Standardised assessments are formal assessments that have been designed to measure a person’s abilities compared to other people of their age. The average level of ability for a person at each age has been determined by using these tests on hundreds of people of varying abilities.
The ADOS-2 uses play based activities and social conversation to look at the following areas of development:
- Communication: use of words and sentences (verbal communication), body language and intonation (nonverbal communication) to talk about their experiences and ask someone about their experiences.
- Social interaction: use of verbal and nonverbal communication to share interest in their own and others’ thoughts and feelings.
- Play: use of imagination, playing together with another person, sharing and turn taking.
- Interests and behaviours associated with the Autistic experience: particular/repeated motor movements or behaviours, preferences for sameness, routine or particular patterns of behaviour, need to complete a series of actions or spoken routines, sensory interests, talking about specific areas of interest, particular passions or areas of expertise.
Autistic people usually have differences in these areas which can be observed during the ADOS -2. By using the scoring system in the assessment, the tester gets information that helps decide a diagnosis.