The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2nd Edition (ADOS-2) is the industry leading empirically tested diagnostic assessment developed by Dr. Catherine Lord and her colleagues to observe behaviors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a consistent manner across different patients, clinicians, and locations.
The ADOS-2 is considered the "gold standard" for diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder due to its comprehensive activity structure providing thorough evaluation of communication skills, social interaction, and imaginative use of materials—all essential criteria when detecting signs of ASD.
To ensure accuracy and objectivity, the ADOS-2 is administered in a standardized format by a trained and certified professional. Please note if you require a full clinical diagnosis (which may be required to access support within certain workplaces, educational entities, or organizations, and may identify other psychiatric conditions), we recommend that you access support through your Primary Care Physician or pursue a private psychiatric diagnosis through a full psychological evaluation which we do not provide at this time.
The ADOS-2 can be tailored to the individual needs of children from age 18 months through adulthood. To qualify for testing, the ADOS-2 requires a minimum developmental level of 12 months and no significant sensory or motor impairments (i.e. blindness, deafness, confined to wheelchair). Module selection for each individual depends on language aptitude within any given speech range or level of fluency and accepted norms for their particular age group.
What to Expect During Your Assessment
Depending on a variety of clients' needs and the practitioner's discretion, this assessment can be conducted in one or two appointments, in addition to a follow-up appointment to review results of the assessment.
The ADOS-2 typically takes between 45-60 minutes to administer, with the client often meeting an unfamiliar examiner in order to obtain unbiased behavior cues during the process. For younger clients such as toddlers or children, parental involvement may be necessary – predominantly by observing but occasionally interacting at certain points throughout administration when prompted by the practitioner. For adolescents and adults the ADOS-2 is generally administered with just the client and attending practitioner present in the room.
A separate follow-up appointment is typically scheduled 1-2 weeks following the assessment. During this appointment we will review the results of the ADOS-2, address any questions, and discuss further recommendations. A full written report will also be provided.
Although the ADOS-2 is recognized as the "gold standard" for assessing for Autism, we do not provide a clinical diagnosis, and this assessment is not intended to be the sole contributor in making a clinical diagnosis. For individuals to receive a comprehensive clinical diagnosis, multiple sources must contribute towards determining their status; these include reports from developmentally informative caregivers or others close with them, objective behavioral observations both during and outside the test itself, alongside experienced and qualified clinicians’ judgement.
If you require a comprehensive clinical diagnosis, which is sometimes required to access support within certain educational entities, workplaces, organizations, etc, we advise you to request a clinical diagnosis through your Primary Care Physician or Psychiatrist. We are glad to provide your full report of your ADOS-2 results to your physician, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist, and collaborate with them to assist in determining a clinical diagnosis and/or further recommendations.
Some people prefer the ADOS-2 assessment as opposed to a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation for several reasons. A few of the ones we have heard are:
1) They do not need a referral from their doctor 2) They do not have to wait 6+ months for an appointment 3) It is often a more affordable option
If you choose to use this assessment for educational, work, or any other structured purposes, please first ensure the entity will recognize the ADOS-2 assessment we conduct instead of a clinical diagnosis from your primary physician. We are available to provide additional information or resources that can help you obtain a clinical diagnosis, if needed.
Regardless, we always encourage individuals to discuss their results with their primary care physician, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist before making any changes to medication, treatments, lifestyle habits, etc. We want you to be empowered in understanding the role and limitations of this assessment, and to make sure you have the best resources available to make informed decisions about your care.