What is the ADOS2?

The ADOS-2 test is just 1 part of a series of tools used to assess a person for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). It is a systematic observation tool involving play and social activities, relevant to the child or adult’s age, functioning and language level. The purpose of the ADOS-2 is to observe the individual’s social and communication behaviours which are key elements to consider in a comprehensive evaluation. The ADOS-2 takes 1 - 2 hours  to complete.

ASD Test

Our Psychologist walks the child through a test that is most suitable to their age and functioning. For example, the Psychologist lays out a picture that provides a template for your child to place blocks on. The child is intentionally not provided enough blocks to fully complete the task, but the Psychologist shows that they have more. How your child handles the dilemma is observed and evaluated.

Other components include structured conversations or social scenarios, like a pretend birthday party or snack time. In many of them, minor obstacles are intentionally introduced; things like withholding the blocks, to see how the child copes with it.

The Psychologist will use a hierarchy of structures called presses to cue responses. In general, the child is expected to show initiative in the early parts of the test, without outside prompting; if this does not occur, the Psychologist will provide more and more specific tasks to make sure they have a behavior to score.

This can make the test difficult to watch, particularly for parents. If the subject is comfortable being alone with the Psychologist during the test, any supporting person or carer will be strongly encourage to wait in the waiting room.

Sometimes the test is recorded on video, with your consent.

The behaviors of the test subject are given a score of between zero and three, weighed against the normal behavior of a neurotypical person taking the test. Zero indicates a normal behavior while three indicates abnormal function.

The sum of the individual behavior scores is the overall score on the test module. The threshold levels for an ASD diagnosis may vary according to both module and age-level; a 13 on Module 3 might be perfectly normal for an 8-year-old, but indicate low-functioning ASD for a 19-year-old.

The results of the ADOS-2 test will be combined with the results of other standardised tests to deliver findings in a report. This ASD report can be used for a range of purposes like applying for NDIS funding, assisting schools to allocate/request assistance resources, or helping Pediatricians make a diagnosis.

Page Last Updated: 31 May 2022

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