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(Fargo Moorhead Families for Effective Autism Treatment)
P.O. Box 1325
 Fargo, ND 58107
Voice: (701) 231-8095

"If a child can't learn in the way that we teach,
then we must teach in a way he can learn." Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D

"Serving Fargo Moorhead and Surrounding Area"

CHAT - The CHecklist for Autism In Toddlers
A Screening Tool

Child's Name: ______________________
Date of Birth:  ______________________
Age:               ______________________

To be used by GP's during the 18 month developmental checkup.

1) Does your child enjoy being swung, bounced on your knee, etc.?
2) Does your child take an interest in other children?
3) Does your child enjoy climbing things, such as up stairs?
4) Does your child enjoy playing peek-a-boo or hide and seek?
___ *5) Does your child ever pretend, for example, to make a cup of tea using a toy cup and teapot, or pretend other things (pouring juice)?
___ 6) Does your child ever use his/her index finger to point, to ask for something?
___ *7) Does your child ever use his/her index finger to point, to indicate interest in something?
___ 8) Can your child play properly with small toys (e.g. cars or blocks) without just mouthing, fiddling or dropping them?
___ 9)
Does your child ever bring objects over to you (parent), to show you something?


___ i) During the appointment, has the child made eye contact with you?
 ___ *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
 ___ *iii) Get the child's attention, then give child a miniature toy cup and teapot and say "Can you make me a cup of tea?" Does the child pretend to pour out tea, drink it, etc.? 2
___ *iv) Say to the child, "Where's the light" or "Show me the light." Does the child point with his/her index finger to the light? 3
 ___ v) Can the child build a tower of blocks? (If so, how many?) (Number of blocks...)

* 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're 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" 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.

British Journal of Psychiatry (1996), 168, pp. 158-163
British Journal of Psychiatry (1992), 161, pp. 839-843


This page is NOT intended to diagnose a child or scare parents. It is also NOT a foolproof way to diagnose a young child. There is no way to absolutely rule out PDD or autism in a young child.

We know that each child is different and progresses at a different rate. Illness may have impeded a child's rate of progress. However, there are some things that most every child should be doing at a certain age.

However, the CHAT (CHecklist for Autism in Toddlers) was developed by a team of British researchers to determine if children as young as eighteen months show evidence of autism. When they used the CHAT on 16,000 children in southeast England, they found twelve children who failed the key points of the test. (5, 7, ii, iii, and iv) Ten of these twelve children later received the autism label. The remaining two received a diagnosis of developmental delay. Twenty-two other children failed some of the key points, but not all of them. Of this group, fifteen were later diagnosed with a developmental delay, while the other seven developed normally. None of the children who failed only one or zero key items was ever diagnosed with autism or developmental delay.

As he was growing up, our Nathan was always at the low side of every progression scale shown to us by the doctors. No one told us that this could be a life-long problem that we should start working on when he was young. I only include this page in the site because I know that early intervention is so important in these children. Please don't over react, but also don't be in denial and lose precious time. Ask for an outsider's opinion if there is any question at all. (And be ready for their honest answer!)