I tend to worry about checklists, because they’re often taken out of context…ie “My child flaps his hands when he’s really excited, could it be autism?” Lots of kids, and adults flap when excited. Ever watch Wheel of Fortune?
A really good website if you’re concerned is First Signs http://www.firstsigns.org/index.html
EDITED TO ADD: Another good website, with examples of what the diagnostic criteria means.. This website is great for those that don’t know much about autism. Http://www.bbbautism.com/diagnostics_psychobabble.htm
To be diagnosed with autism, a child should have a total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):
(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors, such as eye-to- eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(2) qualitative impairments in communication, as manifested by at least one of the following:
(a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)
(b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
(c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
(3) restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities as manifested by at least one of the following:
(a) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(b) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(c) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting or complex whole-body movements)
(d) persistent precoccupation with parts of objects
B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.
In a child age 16-30 months, the MCHAT is an excellent screening tool to see if you should evaluate for autism. Http://messageboards.ivillage.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=iv-ppautism&msg=20700.1&ctx=0
Edited to add: I have an issue with autism being diagnosed where the criteria is being disregarded. Are you using autism and pdd-nos interchangeably? If so, then I can see how it could happen. Beetlemilk, because your son’s don’t meet the criteria for autism, they’ve been diagnosed with pdd-nos. PDD-NOS is a diagnosis by exclusion. If a child presents with some symptoms from (1), (2), and/or (3), and their pattern of symptoms is not better described by one of the other PDD diagnoses (i.e., Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, or Childhood Disintegrative disorder) then a professional might decide that a diagnoses of PDD-NOS is warranted.
When comparing PDD-NOS to Autism, PDD-NOS is used when a child has symptoms of autism, but not in the configuration needed for an autism diagnosis. Social component is where the most impairment is seen. Children who fail to meet criteria for autism and don’t have adequate social impairment typically have a developmental disability, and their symptoms can by accounted for by that.
Regarding the childbrain quiz, my daughter now scores around 118, and that was using the grading guide before answering each question. Without using that guide, I did score it closer to 132. Still in the moderate range, and it’s an accurate reflection. When she was younger, she did score higher. I’ve seen that to be a very good screening tool as well. One caution though, children with speech delays could fall under “mild pdd” when it’s not present. That’s why it’s important to follow up with a reputable diagnostician.
Within the autism diagnostic criteria, My daughter has the following profile From section 1 A is fairly mild, B severe, C is fairly resolved, D is mild
From section 2 A mild since language is comming in, B Severe, C moderate, D moderate
From section 3 A & B moderate…working very hard to resolve these, but her obsessive tendancies are pretty tough to crack. C & D are not issues at all, nor have they ever been issues.
Within the criteria for an autism diagnosis, her spectrum is mild to severe, depending on symptom. She’s also very high functioning (which relates more to self help skills, and IQ) I would say honestly she’s mild/moderate autistic