Adi-R Interview Questions

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) helps develop a birds-eye view of the child’s current status.

The parent and the specialist will go over the child’s medical history (and earlier assessments made), how she behaves in general (including any aggressiveness she’s been showing), key developmental milestones she’s passed, and any speech and language issues.

The ADI-R can help the parent figure out the kind of support their child needs. And this will dramatically improve her quality of life.

Diagnosing ASD is a complicated process because there are a lot of factors to explore.

For example, if your child is taking longer than usual to speak, it could be a sign of autism. But it could also be a developmental language disorder (DLD), which is different. Or she could just have a hearing problem, which in turn makes it harder for her to mimic speech sounds. These sorts of ‘overlaps’ happen with other challenges, too. For example, hyperactivity could be because of autism, or it could be part of an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Extreme sensitivity to sounds and smells could signify autism, but could also be because of sensory processing issues. And some psychological conditions could cause obsessive behaviours that don’t have anything to do with autism.

ADI-R is often paired up with another test called ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule).

Technically, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is assessed only against the criteria in the diagnostic manual DSM-5. So, ADI-R is just one of many tools that specialists choose to use. And it’s often paired up with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) – where the specialist interacts directly with the child, instead of interviewing the parent.

Autism is a developmental difference that will likely change the way your child lives and experiences her daily life.

As she grows, her brain wires itself uniquely giving her a special set of strengths and weaknesses. A strength, for example, might be the ability to focus intensely on a particular topic or skill and get really good at it. And a weakness might be the need for order and predictability in her routine (causing a mini ‘meltdown’ if she doesn’t get this). The impact of these strengths and weaknesses varies from child to child, so autism is part of a ‘spectrum’ with many ‘subtypes.’ Some autistic children can’t speak, are intellectually challenged, and disconnected from the world around them. And others speak very well, are highly intelligent, and engaged. Either way, if you spot the signs of autism early enough, there’s a lot you can do to limit its negative effects and amplify its positive ones. (Learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD].)

The great thing about ADI-R is that it draws on caregivers’ observations. But this is also a weakness.

That’s because parents and guardians come in with their own set of biases. And the less objective the answers, the less effective the test. Plus, it’s quite reliable for older children, but much less so for children under the age of two.

The questions explore the child’s behaviour patterns in three key areas.

These are the areas most affected by ASD.

  • Social interactions. How does the child engage with the people in her life? For example, does she meet their eyes? Does she smile and use facial expressions to communicate? Does she seem interested in playing with other children? And can she play make-believe with them? Does she enjoy seeing them have fun? Does she try and comfort them when needed?
  • Communication & language. Is the child trying to communicate? Even if she can’t yet speak, is she at least trying to gesture or imitate actions and play? If she can speak, are there noticeable issues? For example, does she randomly echo words you use (if you ask if she wants a cookie, does she repeat ‘cookie’ instead of answering ‘yes’)? Does she refer to herself by her name instead of saying ‘I’ or ‘me’?
  • Repetitive and obsessive behaviours. Does she have quirky rituals? Like, keeping her toys in a specific place and touching them before sleeping? Or asking the same questions and wanting you to repeat a particular answer? Does she need strict routines like putting her clothes on in a particular order? Does she use repetitive movements like rocking, pacing, or flapping her hands?
  • ADI-R Presentation: Ana Hernandez

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