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M-CHATTM General Information
The M-CHAT is an autism screening tool designed to identify children 16 to 30 months of age who should receive a more thorough assessment for possible early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism-specific screening at 18 and 24 months of age, in addition to broad developmental screening at 9, 18, and 24 months. The M-CHAT, one of the AAP recommended tools, can be administered at these well-child visits.
If you and your physician agree that further screening is needed, you can request a free developmental assessment through your State Department of Health. We provide the contact information for your state's local Early Intervention coordinator on your child's M-CHAT report.
Early Intervention sites offer further evaluations of your child free-of-charge. These developmental assessments often vary from county to county and may involve a physical exam, a cognitive exam, a hearing assessment, and a speech assessment. In addition to these important components of a thorough evaluation, you may also consider genetic testing and/or specialized assessments provided by a medical geneticist, a clinical psychologist, a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric psychiatrist, or a pediatric neurologist.
Click here to view the AAP policy on developmental screening recommendations and guidelines:
It is important to note that the M-CHAT may not detect early signs of autism and developmental delay in all children. If you have concerns about your child, talk to your pediatrician.
The M-CHAT is intended to be administered by a trained health care professional, so if you answer the M-CHAT questions at home, please discuss your M-CHAT results with your doctor regardless of the results.