When we think of some kind of child development disorder, the first names that come to mind are probably ADHD and autism. This last condition is particularly difficult for many people to understand and can lead to a high level of suffering in the child who suffers from it, not feeling understood, and his environment close to the fear of not being able to approach. the child.
Being autistic also involves a series of difficulties which must be faced and which must be addressed throughout the development process and the life of the subject. But in order to help this sector of the population, you must first be able to determine whether or not you have this disorder. In this sense, we need a series of tests or tests to detect autism. In this article, we will mention some of the most applicable.
Autism: what is it?
Before we go on to point out some of the main tests and tests available to detect autism, it would be helpful to dig a little deeper into our notion of this disorder.
We call autism, now an autism spectrum disorder, a type of neurodevelopmental disorder (that is, it begins at the stage of neuronal growth and development) characterized by the presence of problems and serious language, socialization and behavior difficulties. This disorder in general can detect before the age of three, Appearing in the very early stages of life.
Each of the three aspects mentioned above has particularities difficulty in adapting the child to the environment.
At the socio-relational level, we observe the presence of a lack of interaction and an apparent disinterest in the link with others, to close in on themselves. And is that people with this disorder have serious difficulty having a theory of mind that allows them to see that others are us with a mind independent and separate from theirs. Social interactions are difficult to initiate and respond to, and there is little socio-emotional reciprocity.
As for communication problems a marked literality is observed (They usually do not understand figurative language), as well as the great difficulty or inability to understand and use non-verbal language. It is also not uncommon for delays in language acquisition to occur, and problems of practical and appropriate use in the context of the language are notorious. In some cases, the subject may not develop the language at all. They also often have problems with word rotation and responding to interactions.
Finally, they also exhibit behavioral alterations. It highlights the presence of restricted interests and a high need for routinesFeeling the presence of change is very stressful for them because they need it to have a sense of security. It is not uncommon for them to show up with expressions, movements, or repeated uses of objects, often to calm themselves down. It has also been observed that it is common to be hyper or hyposensitive to stimulation, overreacting or not responding at all to noise and light.
Here are some of the main characteristics and criteria of people with autism. It should also be borne in mind that although it is usually diagnosed in children, it is a chronic disorder that has persisted into adulthood and that requires appropriate therapeutic management in order to reduce the possible impact on different areas of life and to increase the level of autonomy and well-being of these people.
The main tests for autism
A fundamental aspect to be able to intervene in this disorder is the fact of detecting. In this sense, many tests have been carried out over the years in order to be able to detect the presence of an autism spectrum disorder and the aspects that appear to be altered in each case. These tests can be transmitted to different agents, either the same minor, or more commonly to parents and teachers.
Below we will see some of the more well-known tests that are generally used in the detection of autism, recommended by publishers as well known as TEA Edicions or by different organizations specializing in autism.
It is important to keep in mind that the ones we are going to mention are not all that exist, but only some of the most representative. It should also be noted that, both in this disorder and in other disorders, the results of a test are not conclusive or a sufficient condition for diagnosis, and other information such as those obtained during an interview, with the observation of the person or with the reports of other people.
1. Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (TS)
One of the benchmark and best-known tests in the diagnosis of autism, it is a scale developed with the aim of assessing communication skills, social interaction and play and use of equipment. and offer cut-off points. It consists of four modules including only what is appropriate for the subject in question by age group and level of communication is applied. A minimum mental age of two years is required and allows the minor to be assessed on the basis of his performance. They can currently find more advanced editions such as TS 2. It can rate both children and adults.
2. Interview for the diagnosis of autism (ADI)
The ADI and its examination (ADI-R) are clinical interviews designed to make a thorough assessment of a possible case of autism. It consists of approximately 93 questions (In the ADI-R version) which explore language, reciprocal social interaction, and restricted behaviors / interests. It focuses on the typical behaviors of the autistic subject that rarely appear in people without this impairment. The score can be coded and then interpreted with algorithms, without comparative scales.
3. Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS)
Instrument that assesses adaptive behavior from birth to 89 years old. Assess the areas of communication, use of community resources, functional academic skills, home life, school life, health and safety, recreation, personal care, self-management, social, motor skills and employment.
The second version (ABAS-II) also includes the global conceptual, social and practical indices. Although he is not only autistic, it allows us to assess the main areas affected by this disorder. Usually parents, teachers or relatives usually give an answer and take the test, although the same subject can answer as well.
4. Autism Spectrum Ratio (AQ)
This is a 50 question Baron-Cohen questionnaire that is designed to be answered by the subject himself, and is based on the assessment of the degree of agreement (between total agreement and total disagreement, with a total of four possible answers) with each different question. In this sense, we can find specific versions for different profiles, such as Autism Spectrum Quotient for Children (AQC), Autism Spectrum Quotient for Adolescents (AQA) and Spectrum Quotient. abbreviated autism (AQS).
They can also be completed by neighbors or teachers. It offers cutting points that they help separate the old Kanner type of autism from Asperger’s syndrome, And can distinguish different phenotypes.
5. Social communication questionnaire (SCQ)
This rapid application questionnaire must be answered by the subject’s caregivers, composed of a total of 40 items among which are evaluated interaction problems, communication problems and restricted and stereotypical behaviors. It has a Form A which assesses the subject’s entire life and a Form B to assess the situation of the last three months. Depending on the result, it may be advisable to switch to another more comprehensive test such as TS or ADI.
6. Questionnaire autism spectrum screening (ASSQ)
This questionnaire is intended for children between the ages of seven and sixteen, consisting of a total of 27 questions answered with yes / no / something / sometimes. It is more of a screening and tends to focus more on old Asperger’s (now part of the autism spectrum disorder). To complement parents and teachers and allows to identify different predominant traits in minors with social interaction and behavior problems. There is currently a more comprehensive extended revised version (ASSQ-REV).
7. Modified Childhood Autism Questionnaire (M-CHAT)
Screening test that the parents of the child must respond to. If this fails in more than three items, a more detailed analysis should be performed to assess the presence of ASD. Designed to assess minors around two years old, based on questions that must be answered with Yes or No.
8. Autism Spectrum Inventory (IDEA)
Inventory generated to assess a dozen characteristics of people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. More than detection, it focuses on assessing the severity of the patient’s condition. It helps identify the severity of autistic traitsIn addition to generating treatment guidelines and testing the changes that these treatments generate.
In addition, depending on the score, the subject can be classified into four different types of autism (highlighting classic and Asperger’s, in addition to regressive autism and high functioning autism. be completed by the professional on the basis of observation and maintenance information in the environment.
9. Baby and Toddler Questionnaire (CSBS DP)
It is a scale that assesses the presence of different predictors of language and social communication. Designed to last between six months and two years. It should be completed by a parent, guardian or person in frequent contact with the child.
10. Pediatric Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST)
37-question questionnaire for early detection characteristics of children with Asperger’s syndrome. It is passed on to parents of children aged four to eleven.