This suggests that a system for eliciting parental views should be built into any assessment tool for autism, and that extra language support for non-native speakers of Spanish or English should be provided to ensure that this group is not left behind. There is a wealth of knowledge that parents can contribute if a method can be found to elicit their views and record them in a consistent and comparable way. Parallel to the input of parents, there is the standard procedure of child development screening carried out at specified stages during health and educational interactions. The BRIGANCE Standard Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills (Glasgoe, 1999) was first devised in the 1970s and has been refined and extended since then to cover a wider age range and a more clearly defined set of criteria. In its present form, it is widely accepted as a good standard instrument which allows both effective local assessment and wider collation of results across the United States which can be used to build a picture of changes in the patterns of child development as they emerge. This test certainly does pick up significant numbers of cases for further investigation but it is not specifically designed to screen for autism. Parents and broad-based standard testing are therefore a crucial first line and very basic level of screening which are effective for the majority of children. A screening instrument in the UK for very young children around 18 months of age called the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers or simply CHAT has a series of yes/no questions. The questions in section one are general, such as does your child enjoy being swung, bounced on your knee and these are answered by the parent.
Assessment Instrument for Assessing Autism