Step 1: An Administrator identifies students who require an educational evaluation (either to update previous eligibility or to determine a more appropriate eligibility category for a student) and confers with the student’s educational team to plan the process
Step 2: A lead member of the educational team contacts the parents/guardians to obtain permission to conduct educational evaluation activities.
Step 3: Upon receiving parental consent to evaluate, the lead member of the educational team asks one or more teachers and one or more caregivers to complete an autism screening checklist that is appropriate for the child’s age and functioning level.
We recommend the following screening tools for children of different ages:
- If the child is younger than 3 years AND you’ve completed the required training:
- Administer the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year Olds (STAT; Stone et al, 2002)
- If the child is younger than 4 years: administer the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT; Robins et al, 2001)
- If the child is 4 years or older and has unusual or delayed verbal language: administer the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ; Berument et al, 1999)
- If the child is 4 years or older and seems to have fairly normal verbal language: administer the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS; Constantino & Garber, 2005)
- If the child is 8 years or older, with no observable delay in verbal language, consider the Children’s Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST; Scott et al, 2005) or the Asperger Syndrome School Questionnaire (ASSQ; Ehlers et al, 1999).
NOTE: It is helpful to establish a timeline for when the checklists will be returned.
Step 5: One or more members of the educational team observes the student in a variety of school activities and documents their observations.
Step 6: One or more members of the educational team completes standardized testing as needed to understand the student’s learning profile, social style, communication, behavior.
Step 7: A member of the educational team who has obtained additional experience and training in assessing children suspected of having autism completes a direct interactive observation of the student in contexts that pull for social-communication skills and behavioral flexibility.
Step 8: The educational team members who conducted evaluation activities summarize their findings and share impressions with each other prior to meeting with the family.
Step 9: The team (or a subset) meets with the family and shares the findings, engaging in a collaborative discussion of the potentially relevant educational eligibility categories and what the evidence currently suggests.