The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-G)
The ADOS-G is a tool in which the examiner will observe the occurrence or non-occurrence of common autism-related behaviours and other developmental disorders across developmental and age levels, all through social interaction and play or imaginative use of materials. The examiner will then select the most appropriate modules for the participant, either a child or an adult, with his/her specific language ability and chronological age. The participants' behaviours are observed in standard contexts (in which structured and less structured interactions are provided), and are recorded within each module. At the end of the schedule, overall ratings will be made, and later be used to formulate a diagnosis through the use of a diagnostic algorithm for each module.
The ADOS-G consists of four modules, each of which is designed for participants with different age as well as developmental levels. The modules can be appropriate for children with very limited language skills to verbally fluent adults and are described as follows:
Module 1: for those who do not consistently use phrase speech but rather use three-word utterances (sometimes involve a verb). Usually used for young children.
Module 2: for those who can use some phrase speech but are not verbally fluent
Module 3: usually for children under 12 - 16 years of age who are verbally fluent ( having the expressive language that a typical four year-old child would have); are able to produce some logical connections within sentences ( e.g., "but" or "though"), continued grammatical errors are accepted.
Module 4: intended for verbally fluent adolescents and adults. Module 4 contains additional tasks as well as interviews and socioemotional questions of the ADOS.
Modules 1 and 2 focus mainly on young children and are often conducted while moving around the room with different kinds of activities to find out the interests of the children as well as their language ability (usually very limited). Modules 3 and 4 focus mainly on adolescents and adults with more advanced skills of language (verbally fluent) and often take place at a table, involving more conversation and language. The general principle for all the four modules is to use a hierarchy of structured and unstructured social behaviours so as to vary the examiner's behaviour. And though the superficial appearance may be different, all the modules maintain this general principle.
Each module is a single and independent tool designed for different chronological age and language ability, and should fulfil its own task of providing a range of social presses towards the participants. However, if the language level is different than expected or if the tasks seem inappropriate, the examiner can switch from one module to another. The switching process totally depends on the needs of the participant.
Autism Genetic Resource Exchange:
The National Autistic Society