What is ADOS Autism Test, and How does it Work?

Children are naturally curious creatures, especially when they are in their early years of development. They tend to point out new things, ask a lot of questions, and get into everything. First-time parents may not know what to expect, but parents on their second or third child can pretty much expect certain behaviors at specific times in a child’s life. 

For children who have Autism, these expectations or milestones may be delayed or may not happen at all. This is usually when parents start to worry and decide to go to their pediatrician, who will most likely not diagnose your child on the spot but refer you to a professional who will use the ADOS assessment to get a better understanding of your child. 

For Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is no blood test or CAT scan that will directly tell you whether or not your child has Autism; this is where ADOS testing comes in. 

ADOS Assessment

The ADOS assessment is an instrument for diagnosing and addressing ASD. Parents, don’t worry; it is not an actual test - there is no pass or fail, and there is nothing you can do to prepare your child for ADOS testing. 

ADOS stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, and the test itself provides a standardized method for identifying ASD in children. During the 30-60 minute evaluation, children will be assessed on communication, social interaction, play, and restrictive and repetitive behaviors by two ADOS Clinicians - one who engages and the other who observes. If you are worried about having your child tested, just know that many parents feel the same way. That is why all clinicians must have completed ADOS training and have experience and an extensive understanding of ASD in children. 

When the assessment begins, your child will be administered one of four modules, depending on several factors such as age, developmental levels, and speech. They will be assessed or scored based on observations under controlled conditions. The test was designed so that an ADOS clinician could pick up on even the most subtle behavior, so parents should not worry about whether or not their child will display specific behaviors during the hour-long evaluation. It must also be noted that ADOS is not to be used as the sole determinant of ASD; other sources of information from physicians and parents regarding early developmental history are also taken into account. 

How does it work?

So now that you have a better understanding of the ADOS assessment let’s dive into how it works and how your child will be “scored.” As previously mentioned, children tend to have pretty consistent behavior with other children in their age group. Throughout the assessment, clinicians will score the way your child behaves when placed in a particular situation. This may include the use of toys and books for activities, scenarios, communication, and responses from your child (scenarios will vary depending on the ADOS level or module being used). 

Scoring is not as intense as it sounds; your child’s behaviors during each assessment will be given a score between zero and three where zero would indicate normal behavior, and three would indicate atypical behavior. Once individual behavioral scores have been reported, the sum is the overall score for your child on the test module. This score will help determine the diagnosis of your child. 

If your child took this test and was diagnosed with ASD, you know that there is no single solution or treatment for Autism in children. Some parents will use the results of the ADOS test to help determine what next steps should be taken. 

The result of this test is often the first part of a lifelong journey for you and your child. Complete awareness and understanding of Autism come with time, and you might discover alternative methods that will improve your child’s ASD symptoms. 

At Simple Spectrum, we are proud to be a part of so many of your journeys, and we love hearing positive feedback from parents who choose our supplement to be a part of their child’s journey.