ADOS is for you, dear parent. For your child. For you doctors, for you esteemed therapists. And for every child with autism who is yet to be born
Why do we need ADOS, doctors and specialists seem to be asking. The question, though unspoken, hangs in the air. It can be heard in the silence surrounding the introduction of the tool in Poland. In the quiet around the "ADOS-2 in Poland" project. It resounds in the forums for parents - in the absence of discussion and emotion. Sometimes, sometimes for trivial reasons, emotions erupt there. Around ADOS - silence.
And while it is gratifying to see nearly 100 applications from centers that want to receive a tool from us under the "ADOS-2 in Poland" program. This still raises the question. Does everyone really know why we need ADOS?
ADOS-2 in Poland has symbolic significance. We were one of the last countries in the world where this tool was not available. A white spot on the blue map of the world. ADOS-2 in Poland means that children and parents were taken seriously. That autism organizations were able to work together. And after several years of work under the guidance of the University of Warsaw, they led to the validation of the tool.
ADOS-2 in Poland means that children and parents have their dignity restored. They are no longer at the mercy of a diagnostician who will look at a child and authoritatively say - that he "sees" or "does not see" autism. Every psychiatrist or child psychiatrist knows the diagnostic criteria for autism (at least let's assume they do). Does the child communicate or not? Does he establish relationships with other children, with adults? Is he able to play symbolically? However, the way the doctor had to answer these questions was arbitrary. Professionally speaking, "diagnostic observation" was not systematized. As a result, there were times when the doctor refused to diagnose autism because "the child doesn't walk on his toes." And this is an example from life. Really.
ADOS-2 is a meticulous observation protocol. Nothing here is random. Did the child look in the eyes? How many times? For how many seconds? Did it pick up a toy? Did it make the desired movement? And so point by point. Sequentially. According to a plan. And always the same way.
There is no subjective evaluation of the diagnostician. There is serious treatment. And dignity.
Don't be afraid of ADOS, doctor
To doctors, I want to tell them not to be afraid. No one is depriving them of their right to decide. Instead, they gain a powerful tool. Doctors have always had the right to use testing. They have had the right and have been willing to use it. We can't imagine an internist who won't order blood tests. Psychiatrists and child psychiatrists, for example, use an intelligence test (although the level of intelligence, as we know from research, does not determine the success of children with autism). Now they gain another test that assists them in an important decision. The decision to diagnose autism. It will be much easier for a parent to say "my observation and the ADOS-2 test conducted indicate (or do not indicate) a diagnosis of autism" than to invoke only their own assessment.
Don't be afraid. You are the one who makes the final decision. You gain a tool for it.
In many countries around the world, the person performing the test using ADOS is actually a doctor. I strongly encourage you - get trained, for the sake of your patients. Or, if you so prefer, do not hesitate to have a trained therapist - a psychologist, special teacher or speech therapist - perform the test
ADOS diagnostician, that sounds proud
Dear specialist: psychologist, educator, or speech therapist. You will never know as much about the functioning of children with autism as ADOS and working with it will give you. As long-time users say, ADOS gives them experience and knowledge that also ensures success in therapy.
I know that hard training, planned work, sticking to protocol, are not particularly desirable qualities for a job in Poland. But this is going to change. Every year more and more parents are learning about evidence-based therapy methods. More and more of them understand that quick results will not come. You have to earn them with your child, over weeks, months, years. In the end, there is a reward - in the form of a happy child who can be independent. At 100 percent of their capabilities.
Parents understand that no one can provide them with such organized and planned long-term work with their child as an ADOS Diagnostician. The number of trained specialists is constantly growing. Each of them can say: ADOS Diagnostician, that sounds proud.
For those to come
I think about children with autism who are yet to be born. I am glad that they and their parents will have it easier. Diagnosis will no longer be a road through an ordeal. It will be reliable and always the same - no matter who performs it.
The time and effort won will be able to be spent on therapy. Started early therapy.
I can imagine this moment. I will walk the corridors of the JiM Clinic and Kindergarten. Watching the little ones, seeing how they are doing and counting their successes.
Tomasz Michalowicz, president of the JiM Foundation
We are still accepting applications for the "ADOS-2 in Poland" project for 7 more days. The JiM Foundation will purchase and donate a complete ADOS-2 kit for the diagnosis of people with autism to the selected centers. For more information, visit www.ados2wpolsce.pl
ADOS-2 can also be purchased in the store Laboratory of Psychological Tests of the Polish Psychological Association
The JiM Foundation informs that it is not affiliated with the Psychological Testing Laboratory in any way.