On Friday, January 27th, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca launched an online screening tool to help parents with young children identify early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The resource is available online for free, and provides parents of young children between the ages of 16 to 30 months with an opportunity to, with guidance, recognize the potential signs of autism. If there are signs of autism, the tool opens the door for parents to connect with supports early in their child’s life.
“Early intervention is pivotal for children who have Autism diagnoses,” said Dr. Karen Grattan-Miscio, Clinical Director of Autism Services at Hands. “By providing families access to a validated tool for screening, as well as appropriate resources and support through our Autism Resource Coordinator, we are better able to support families in obtaining the resources they need, at the right time.”
Hands’ new screening tool is phase one of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or the M-CHAT (© 1999 Robins, Fein, & Barton). It supports families in identifying or addressing concerns they may have and provides an opportunity to make a connection to support services, but it does not provide a diagnosis. Support services may include: a more complete developmental assessment, referral support to appropriate services, training opportunities, etc.
Parents of young children who have concerns can access the autism screening tool by visiting Hands’ website at: www.thefamilyhelpnetwork.ca/autism-support. Upon completion of the screener, parents may choose to provide their contact information and Hands’ Autism Resource Coordinator will be in touch. Alternatively, parents can call their local Hands office directly or toll free at 1-800-668-8555.