FAQ/Contact Us


Questions from Parents

Does my child need to be screened again?
My child screened negative, but I am worried he/she might have autism. What should I do?
If my child screened negative (passed the screener), does that mean he cannot have a developmental concern?
What if I am still concerned about my child’s development? What should I do?
What if my child screens positive for possible concerns but my doctor says he/she is not worried?
If my child screened positive for possible concerns, is it best to wait a year and see happens?
Does the M-CHAT screen for all possible developmental issues?
If I am still worried what should I do?

Questions from Professionals

Does the M-CHAT screen for all possible developmental issues?
Should I correct for prematurity?
I want to scan my patients’ M-CHAT forms into my electronic health record (EHR). Am I allowed to do that?
I want to post the M-CHAT on my website. Am I allowed to do that?
I want to create an app for people to complete the M-CHAT-R/F. Am I allowed to do that?
I want to change some of the questions. Am I allowed to do that?
Who is allowed to administer and score the M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R/F?
Can I administer the M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R without the Follow-Up?


Questions from Parents

Does my child need to be screened again?

If your child is younger than 24 months (2 years old), you should screen again at the 2-year check-up. In addition, some mild forms of autism (like Asperger’s Disorder) may not appear until the child is closer to school age. Therefore, at any age, if you are concerned that your child has lost skills, is not gaining social or communication skills as expected, or is showing odd behaviors, you should talk to your child’s doctor.

My child screened negative, but I am worried he/she might have autism. What should I do?

If you have any concerns, you should talk to your child’s doctor. You also can contact your local early intervention agency to request an evaluation of eligibility for early intervention services for your child. If you are in the US you can find your state’s intervention office here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/early-access-care/ei-state-info

If my child screened negative (passed the screener), does that mean he cannot have a developmental concern?

No. The M-CHAT-R/F does not screen for all developmental delays or concerns. Also, a screening tool cannot be perfect. If you have concerns, you should talk to your child’s doctor. You also can contact your local early intervention agency to request an evaluation of eligibility for early intervention services for your child. If you are in the US you can find your state’s intervention office here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/early-access-care/ei-state-info

What if I am still concerned about my child’s development? What should I do?

Parents know their children. We recommend that parents always act on their concerns. If you are concerned, talk to your child’s doctor. You also can contact your local early intervention agency to request an evaluation of eligibility for early intervention services for your child. If you are in the US you can find your state’s intervention office here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/early-access-care/ei-state-info. If you are not in the US, you should be able to find out what kind of early intervention services are available in your region. Some additional information about early intervention in other countries can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_childhood_intervention

What if my child screens positive for possible concerns but my doctor says he/she is not worried?

Sometimes physicians are not concerned because it is difficult to see the risk signs for autism during toddler check-ups. We recommend that if your child screens positive, you should act immediately. There are two things you can do, and they can be done at the same time. One is to determine whether your child is eligible for early intervention services. If you are in the US, you can find your state’s intervention office here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/early-access-care/ei-state-info. If you are not in the US, you should be able to find out what kind of early intervention services are available in your region. Some additional information about early intervention in other countries can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_childhood_intervention. The second is to see an expert clinician to find out if your child has a specific diagnosis, such as autism, a language disorder, or a global developmental delay. Experts who make these diagnoses include psychologists and developmental-behavioral pediatricians. You can ask your child’s pediatrician, your insurance company, or local hospitals for recommendations to find an expert in your region.

If my child screened positive for possible concerns, is it best to wait a year and see happens?

No, we recommend immediate action. Children who need early intervention services to learn skills do better if you start as young as possible. Waiting a year means that valuable intervention time is lost, and might mean that your child runs the risk of falling farther behind his or her peers during this time

Does the M-CHAT screen for all possible developmental issues?

No, the M-CHAT and the M-CHAT-R/F were designed to screen for autism risk. We know that some children who screen positive have autism, and some children who screen positive have other developmental delays or concerns, such as language or global delays, but that does not mean that the M-CHAT will identify all children with developmental issues.

If I am still worried what should I do?

You can talk to your child’s doctor. If the doctor is not concerned, you can call your local early intervention agency to find out if your child is eligible for early intervention services. If you are in the US, you can find your state’s intervention office here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/early-access-care/ei-state-info. If you are not in the US, you should be able to find out what kind of early intervention services are available in your region. Some additional information about early intervention in other countries can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_childhood_intervention. You also can schedule an evaluation with an expert clinician to find out if your child has a specific diagnosis, such as autism, a language disorder, or a global developmental delay. Experts who make these diagnoses include psychologists and developmental-behavioral pediatricians. You can ask your child’s pediatrician, your insurance company, or local hospitals for recommendations to find an expert in your region.


Questions from Professionals

Does the M-CHAT screen for all possible developmental issues?

No, the M-CHAT and the M-CHAT-R/F were designed to screen for autism risk. We know that some children who screen positive have autism, and some children who screen positive have other developmental delays or concerns, such as language or global delays, but that does not mean that the M-CHAT will identify all children with developmental issues

Should I correct for prematurity?

We do not recommend adjusting for prematurity. In part this is because many standardized tests only correct for the first year, and in part because adjusting for prematurity may decrease sensitivity. We are aware that the screen positive rate is elevated in samples of premature children, but we are not yet certain whether this is due to an elevated prevalence of autism in these cases, or if they are false positives.

I want to scan my patients’ M-CHAT forms into my electronic health record (EHR). Am I allowed to do that?

As long as you are making this electronic M-CHAT(-R) just for use in your own office’s medical record, you are welcome to do so free of charge, following the requirements that you do not alter the instrument’s name, instructions, items, item order, or the copyright notice at the bottom.

I want to post the M-CHAT on my website. Am I allowed to do that?

The M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R/F are copyrighted instruments. You are not allowed to post them on a website without permission. However, you are welcome to post a link to our website or post a link directly to the M-CHAT-R/F download from our website without special permission.

I want to create an app for people to complete the M-CHAT-R/F. Am I allowed to do that?

To create an app, a web-based screening tool, or any other electronic version that you would allow others to use, please contact Diana Robins to discuss a license agreement.

I want to change some of the questions. Am I allowed to do that?

The M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R/F are copyrighted tools. You are not allowed to make any changes to the title, instructions, item content, item order, or copyright notice without permission from the authors. One reason for this is that we do not know how the instrument will perform if any changes are made.

Who is allowed to administer and score the M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R/F?

The M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R/F are designed to be administered and scored without training. Any professional can offer the questionnaires to a parent. Parents also can self-administer the questionnaires. Scoring instructions can be downloaded from http://www.mchatscreen.com

Can I administer the M-CHAT and M-CHAT-R without the Follow-Up?

If the Follow-Up interview is not administered (as an interview by a person, such as someone at your pediatrician’s office, a local early intervention agency, or a specialist, or by a computer program where the follow-up questions immediately follow screen positive results), the instrument will not lose sensitivity, but there will be many more false positives.


Before using the contact form below, please review the scoring, translation, and home pages for permissions and free downloads