What is the M-CHAT?

Autism is something that we are continually learning more about, and as our knowledge of the condition grows, so do the diagnostic methods and treatments. There are even assessments that parents can perform at home, before they seek additional intervention from a team of professionals. One such diagnostic tool is the M-CHAT (or M-CHAT-RTM), which stands for Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised.

If you believe your child is exhibiting symptoms of autism, this questionnaire can be easily completed online. The M-CHAT is typically used for toddlers between 16 and 30 months old. The results of the questions in the M-CHAT will assess the risk that the child will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The assessment also reveals the likelihood of developing autism: high, medium, or low. While this might seem early, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all parents have their children assessed for autism between 18 and 24 months.

Neuropsychologists and a clinical psychologist developed the M-CHAT questionnaire, and there is scientific evidence to support its success. Therefore, it is widely used by parents who believe their children are at risk for developing autism. If the M-CHAT reveals a risk for autism, parents will be able to share these results with their pediatrician or professionals who are involved in the diagnostic process. The M-CHAT will be able to show the areas of development that are delayed and help to determine, with applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy), what would be an effective next step for the child.

ABA therapy is an effective method of behavior analysis to build positive behaviors and resolve problematic behaviors. ABA is evidence-based and focuses on pivotal developmental skills, including cognition, behavior, communication, speech and language, and more. If the team of professionals and parents believe that ABA therapy is a good fit for the child, the M-CHAT can help the therapist to determine which skills should be targeted throughout the course of therapy.

An M-CHAT cannot be 100% effective 100% of the time. However, it is a highly effective questionnaire that is widely used by parents.

If you are a parent and have concerns about your child’s development, taking the M-CHAT online can be a helpful first step. After discussing the results with a professional, you might determine that a therapeutic preschool program or ABA therapy will provide your child with the additional support that they need.

Do you think your child could benefit from a Chicago therapeutic preschool program? Contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about the wide range of services we provide for children, including ABA therapy, feeding therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
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