Preparing for Your Child’s ADOS 2 Assessment

A Parents Guide

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – Second Edition (ADOS 2) is a semi-structured standardised assessment. This means that there are set activities, interactions, and questions that the clinician will follow and observe your child’s responses. They will be observing your child’s communication, social interaction, play / imaginative use of materials and restricted and repetitive behaviours.

It is not a test with ‘right or wrong’ answers, your child will not feel under pressure or think they have got anything wrong.

Some of the activities include playing with toys, looking at a book or playing with bubbles.

Younger children will be offered a snack as part of the assessment, so please let the clinician know if your child has specific dietary requirements.

The ADOS 2 session will last between 40 minutes and 1 hour.

Face to Face Appointments

If your child is very young, we will need one parent to attend the session. If this is the case it will be important that the parent sits in the background and does not interact with or encourage the child without the clinician specifically asking you to.

Apart from very young children, it is much better for the child to join the session with the clinician alone. We will want to see how the child manages in an unfamiliar environment with an unfamiliar person.

Our clinicians have a wealth of experience of engaging with children with social interaction differences and difficulties and will ensure your child is safe and comfortable while you relax and enjoy a coffee.

Online Appointments

If your child is undertaking their assessment online, you will need to be near enough to hear if the clinician needs your help but distanced so that your child will not interact with you rather than the clinician. It is a good idea to put a chair just outside the door and leave the door open.

We will need you to provide your child with 5 small objects at one point in the session. They will be used for one of the tasks. It would be great if 1 (no more) of these objects is a small toy such as small toy car or small toy cat etc. The other 4 objects should be non play related items, some ideas of these are:

  • Spoon
  • Peg
  • Balloon
  • Pencil
  • Hair bobble
  • Feather
  • Shoelace
  • Bottle top
  • 50 pence coin
  • Elastic band
  • Comb

The assessment cannot be undertaken on a smart phone, but a desktop, laptop or tablet will be fine. Please check the position of your camera before the assessment, we will need to see your child face and arms on screen as below

Feedback After the Session

The clinician will be able to tell you how your child has been during the session but will not be able to give you an outcome. They will need to score the assessment items and put the items into an algorithm to be able to decide the outcome of the ADOS 2 part of the overall assessment.

They will write a comprehensive report which will form part of the overall report you will receive at the end of the assessment process.

Reassuring Your Child

It might be helpful to describe the session as a ‘someone wanting to get to know them’ rather than as an assessment.

You can reassure them that there is no right or wrong, it is just about us getting to know them.

If they want to bring a comforter along that’s fine.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.