Researchers at Rutgers University have devised a new test for toddlers that they say could help ascertain if a child has autism from as young as 2.


The simple test, called the Psychological Development Questionnaire (PDQ-1) consists of 10 questions and helps gauge how a child interacts with others.

If you answer mostly 'no' your child might be on the autism spectrum.

Questions from the Psychological Development Questionnaire (PDQ-1) test for autism in toddlers:

My child...

  • points or gestures to show interest or get attention
  • has unusual or variable responses to sound (seems not to hear or is
    oversensitive or overreacts)
  • smiles or makes regular eye contact with others
  • responds to name when called
  • shows interest in children at play
  • enjoys doing “handshake” or “peek-a-boo”
  • Relates to others by babbling, gesturing, talking, or changing
  • uses 3 or more words regularly and appropriately
  • speaks in phrases (e.g., want juice, go bye-bye)
  • laughs when others laugh

Speaking about the test, Dr Walter Zahorodny told Mail Online:

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"Our group was prompted to develop the PDQ-1 due to many parents of autistic children saying they regretted that their early concern with their children's development did not lead to quicker acknowledgement, evaluation and interventions for autism."

While the researchers do acknowledge that effective diagnosis can only be made through comprehensive evaluation by a professional, the questionnaire is a good first step for screening children who may have autism.

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Tara BreathnachContent Editor and Social Media Producer

Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015