Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT)

CHAT is an autism screening tool, composed of 5 yes-or-no items, used by the pediatrician or family doctor at the 18-month developmental checkup. The CHAT form asks about the child’s protodeclarative pointing (the use of the index finger to point to something of interest), eye contact, and pretend play. CHAT (which takes 5 minutes to administer) has been shown to be highly effective in predicting which children will develop autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, or other developmental syndromes. Although CHAT cannot be used as a diagnostic instrument, it can alert the pediatrician to the need for expert referral.