Evidence based assessment/Instruments/Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist

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The Autism Treatment Evaluation Scale (ATEC) is a 77-item diagnostic assessment tool that was developed by Bernard Rimland and Stephen Edelson at the Autism Research Institute. The ATEC was originally designed to evaluate the effectiveness of autism treatments, but it may also be beneficial as a screening tool for children.[1][2][3] The questionnaire, which is completed by a parent, takes about 10–15 minutes to complete and is designed for use with children ages 5–12.

Scoring and interpretation[edit]

Item breakdown[edit]

Questions are divided into four sub-scales based on content.

  • Section 1: speech/language and communication
  • Section 2: sociability
  • Section 3: sensory and cognitive awareness
  • Section 4: physical/health behavior

Scoring[edit]

For Sections 1-3, parents are asked to read the statement in each item and indicate whether it is "not true/descriptive," "somewhat true/descriptive," or "very true/descriptive" of their child. Section 4 asks parents to indicate whether the statements describe something that is "not a problem," a "minor problem," a "moderate problem," or a "serious problem" for their child.

Total scores on the ATEC range from 0-180 and are calculated by summing the scores of each subscale. In general, a higher score indicates a greater degree of impairment from symptoms. Responses to each question are assigned a numeric value, and then added together.

  • In sections 1-3, an answer of "not true/descriptive" receives 0 points, an answer of "somewhat true/descriptive" receives 1 point, and an answer of "very true/descriptive" receives 2 points.
  • In section 4, an answer of "not a problem" receives 0 points, an answer of a "minor problem" receives 1 point, an answer of a "moderate problem" receives 2 points, and an answer of a "serious problem" receives 3 points.

Cutoffs and interpretation[edit]

Both subscale scores and total scores can be used to calculate a percentile of severity that the participant falls under, relative to score distributions provided by the Autism Research Institute. The following criteria for interpreting scores of the ATEC are as follows:

  • Total scores of less than 30- Indicate that the child possesses somewhat normal behavior patterns and communication skills and has a high chance of leading a normal and independent life.
  • Total scores of less than 50- Indicate that the child will most likely be able to lead a semi-independent life without needing to be placed in a formal care facility.
  • Total scores of 104 or higher- Indicate that the child would fall into the 90th percentile and would be considered severely autistic. He or she will likely need continuous care, perhaps at an institution, and may be unable to achieve any degree of independence from others.[4][5]

Additional research on the ATEC identifies the various cutoffs and percentiles for subscale and total scores.

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Geier, DA; Kern, JK; Geier, MR (October 2013). "A Comparison of the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) for the Quantitative Evaluation of Autism.". Journal of mental health research in intellectual disabilities 6 (4): 255–267. doi:10.1080/19315864.2012.681340. PMID 23914277. 
  2. Teal, MB; Wiebe, MJ (December 1986). "A validity analysis of selected instruments used to assess autism.". Journal of autism and developmental disorders 16 (4): 485–94. doi:10.1007/bf01531713. PMID 3804961. 
  3. Accardo, P; Bostwick, H (November 1999). "Zebras in the living room: the changing faces of autism.". The Journal of Pediatrics 135 (5): 533–5. doi:10.1016/s0022-3476(99)70045-4. PMID 10547235. 
  4. "Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC)". Autism Research Institute. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  5. "Table of all screening tools and rating scales". School Psychiatry Program and MADI Resource Center. Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved 14 September 2015.