CHAT: Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - A Screening Tool

The following test can be used by a pediatrician or family doctor during the 18 month diagnostic checkup. The CHAT should not be used as a diagnostic instrument, but can alert the primary health professional to the need for an expert referral.

Yes

No

I. During the appointment, has the child made eye contact with you?

Yes

No

*II. Get the child's attention, then point across the room at an interesting object and say, "Oh, look! There's a (name of toy)!" Watch the child's face. Does the child look across to see what you are pointing at? (1)

Yes

No

*III. Get the child's attention, then give the child a miniature toy cup and teapot and say, "Can you make a cup of tea?" (Substitute toy pitcher and glass and say, "Can you pour a glass of juice?") Does the child pretend to pour out tea (juice), drink it, etc? (2)

Yes

No

*IV. Say to the child, "Where's the light?", or "Show me the light." Does the child POINT with his/her finger at the light? (3)

Yes

No

V. Can the child build a tower of bricks (blocks)? If so, how many?

* Indicates critical questions that are most indicative of autistic characteristics.

1. (To record YES on this item, ensure that the child has not simply looked at your hand, but has actually looked at the object you are pointing at.)

2. (If you can elicit an example of pretending in some other game, score a YES on this item.)

3. (Repeat this with, "Where's the teddy bear?" or some other unreachable object if the child does not understand the word "light". To record a YES on this item, the child must have looked up at your face around the time of pointing.)

The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1996, vol. 168, pp. 158-163
The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1996, vol. 161, pp. 839-843
Families for Early Autism Treatment, Inc. c 1996, 1997, 1998

 
 
 

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