Autism Checklist

Below is a link to a screening tool for toddlers and ‘red flags’ that may indicate Autism Spectrum Disorder in children. For information regarding adults, see Signs of Autism in Adults from the NHS in the UK.


The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R) is a screening tool that will ask a series of 20 questions about your child’s behavior. It’s intended for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age. The results will let you know if a further evaluation may be needed. You can use the results of the screening tool to discuss any concerns that you may have with your child’s healthcare provider.

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R) is provided online by Autism Speaks

Possible “Red Flags”

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A person with ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Individuals with autism usually exhibit at least half of the traits listed below. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and vary in intensity from symptom to symptom. In addition, the behavior usually occurs across many different situations and is consistently inappropriate for their age.

  • Difficulty in mixing with other children
  • Inappropriate laughing and giggling
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Apparent insensitivity to pain
  • Prefers to be alone; aloof manner
  • Spins objects
  • Inappropriate attachment to objects
  • Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
  • Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
  • Insistence on sameness; resists changes in routine
  • No real fear of dangers
  • Sustained odd play
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases in place of normal language)
  • May not want cuddling or act cuddly
  • Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as deaf
  • Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words
  • Tantrums – displays extreme distress for no apparent reason
  • Uneven gross/fine motor skills (May not want to kick ball but can stack blocks)

Adapted from the original by Professor Rendle-Short, Brisbane Children’s Hospital, University of Queensland, Australia.