(ADOS™) Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule™

by Catherine Lord, PhD, Michael Rutter, MD, FRS, et al

(ADOS™) Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule™

by Catherine Lord, PhD, Michael Rutter, MD, FRS, et al
Benefits Allows you to accurately assess and diagnose autism and pervasive developmental disorder across ages, developmental levels, and language skills
Ages Toddlers to adults
Admin time 30–45 minutes
Format Standardized behavioral observation and coding
Scores Cutoff scores for both a narrow diagnosis of autism and a broader diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder
Publish Date 2000
Qualifications Level C required.
About Qualification Levels
Translation Available in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, & Swedish
Published Translations
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About This Product

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Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS™-2) Now Available! View ADOS-2 page


This semistructured assessment can be used to evaluate almost anyone suspected of having autism—from toddlers to adults, from children with no speech to adults who are verbally fluent.

The ADOS consists of various activities that allow you to observe social and communication behaviors related to the diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders. These activities provide interesting, standard contexts in which interaction can occur. 

The ADOS includes four modules, each requiring just 30 to 45 minutes to administer. The individual being evaluated is given just one module, depending on his or her expressive language level and chronological age. Following guidance provided in the manual, you select the appropriate module for each person. Module 1 is used with children who do not consistently use phrase speech, Module 2 with those who use phrase speech but are not verbally fluent, Module 3 with fluent children, and Module 4 with fluent adolescents and adults. The one group within the autism spectrum that the ADOS does not address is nonverbal adolescents and adults.

Modules 1 and 2 require you and the child to move around the room. Modules 3 and 4, both of which involve more conversation, can be administered at a table. Activities in Modules 1 and 3 are listed below:



Module 1
Free Play
Response to Name
Response to Joint Attention
Bubble Play
Anticipation of a Routine With Objects
Responsive Social Smile
Anticipation of Social Routine
Functional and Symbolic Imitation
Birthday Party

Module 3
Construction Task
Make-Believe Play
Joint Interactive Play
Demonstration Task
Description of a Picture
Telling a Story from a Book
Reporting a Nonroutine Event/Conversation
Social Difficulties/Annoyance
Creating a Story

These activities provide a 30- to 45-minute observation period full of opportunities for the examinee to exhibit behaviors relevant to a diagnosis of autism or PDD. As you administer the ADOS, you record your observations, then code them later and formulate a diagnosis. Cutoff scores are provided for both the broader diagnosis of PDD/atypical autism/autism spectrum, as well as the traditional, narrower conceptualization of autism.

Offering standardized materials and ratings, the ADOS gives you a measure of autism spectrum disorder that is unaffected by language. Because it can be used with a wide range of children and adults, it is a cost-effective addition to any hospital, clinic, or school that serves individuals with developmental disorders.


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