If you are still concerned, talk to your child's primary care physician and go over the M-CHAT together. The M-CHAT is a screening tool for ASD, but may also expose other developmental delays in your child. Importantly, the M-CHAT does not detect early signs of autism in all toddlers. If you are worried, pursue additional evaluation.
Who should I call?
Call your child's primary care physician first to review the results of your child's M-CHAT. He/she may refer you to an Early Intervention site in your area or to other medical specialists. In addition, we provide a phone number for your state's Early Intervention coordinator on your child's M-CHAT report. Contact your state coordinator to schedule an appointment for further assessment of your concerns.
As a physician, you are able to store the M-CHAT results of your patients. You can also document use of M-CHAT for your practice's compliance with annual quality improvement requirements, as recommended by the AAP.
Not all children who have a result of "Medium-Risk of Autism" or "High-Risk for Autism" on the M-CHAT will meet the criteria for a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. However, children who do have a concerning M-CHAT result should be evaluated in more depth by their primary care physician, Early Intervention site, and/or other healthcare specialists. Early Intervention is a federally funded program for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The program's purpose is to serve children with disabilities under the age of five, as well as their families. Parents may contact Early Intervention directly or may be referred by their primary care physician. Contact the State Coordinators listed on your M-CHAT report to set up an appointment.
Make an appointment with your child's primary care physician as soon as possible to go over the results of the test. Print the results of the M-CHAT before you go and give a copy to your child's healthcare provider. The doctor will review the M-CHAT results with you to confirm the results and may refer you to your local Early Intervention site or other medical specialists. You may also call the Early Intervention site in your area directly to schedule an appointment and go over the results of the M-CHAT. Contact the state coordinators listed on your M-CHAT report to set-up an appointment.
Call your state Early Intervention coordinator, whose contact information is provided on your M-CHAT report. The coordinator(s) will help you set up an appointment for a more detailed assessment by the Early Intervention site in your state. Early Intervention is a federally funded program offered free of charge for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The program's purpose is to serve children with disabilities under the age of five, as well as their families. Parents may contact Early Intervention directly or may be referred by their child's primary care physician.
The M-CHAT should be administered to a child between the ages of 16 months to 30 months.
What if I'm outside the age range?
If your child is younger than 16 months, and you have concerns about your child's development, start by consulting your child's primary care physician. The scoring system used in the M-CHAT has only been tested on children 16-30 months, and it is not known how younger children will perform, and whether M-CHAT scores are related to actual developmental delays or autism.
If your child is older than 30 months, the M-CHAT is not as relevant as a screening tool for ASD. The scoring system used in the M-CHAT has only been tested on children 16-30 months, and it is not known how older children will perform, and whether M-CHAT scores are related to actual developmental delays or autism. Discussing your concerns with a professional, like your child's primary care physician or a State Coordinator with your state's Early Intervention program is advised.
How are the M-CHAT results calculated?
For all items except 2, 5, and 12, the response "NO" indicates ASD risk; for items 2, 5, and 12, "YES" indicates ASD risk. The following algorithm maximizes psychometric properties of the M-CHAT-R:
"Low-Risk" - Total Score is 0-2; if child is younger than 24 months, screen again after second birthday. No further action required unless surveillance indicates risk for ASD.
"Medium-Risk" - Total Score is 3-7; administer the Follow-Up (second stage of M-CHAT-R/F) to get additional information about at-risk responses. If M-CHAT-R/F score remains at 2 or higher, the child has screened positive. Action required: refer child for diagnostic evaluation and eligibility evaluation for early intervention. If score on Follow-Up is 0-1, child has screened negative. No further action required unless surveillance indicates risk for ASD. Child should be rescreened at future well-child visits.
"High-Risk" - Total Score is 8-20; it is acceptable to bypass the Follow-Up and refer immediately for diagnostic evaluation and eligibility evaluation for early intervention.
Data collected by the M-CHAT application is considered Protected Health Information (PHI). We adhere to HIPAA/HITECH regulations and we take this very seriously. All data is stored in a secured data hosting facility with restricted physical access. All data on this website is collected via forced Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connections, and data is encrypted across the internet. Data stored ("at rest") within our database is also encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption to further reduce any possibility of a security breach.
No, we do not require any personal contact information. Each M-CHAT report is assigned a random Unique ID that will allow for tracking of data without requiring users to enter Protected Health Information (PHI) or other sensitive information. Identifiers entered into our system are fully encrypted and are only made available to you for your own purposes.
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