The Autism Discriminative Tool or ADT is a second level autism screening tool for use by specialists such as child psychiatrists/neurologists/psychologists...or any team in contact with toddlers at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. It is one of the first intrument to be based on the DSM-5 and its new ASD criterias. Particularly detailed and focused on teachers' observations, the ADT targets preschoolers deemed “at risk” for autism spectrum disorders.


The ADT is composed of 35 items based on the presence or absence of specific behaviours. Twenty-six items are considered critical and used for screening purposes. The ADT differs from other screening tests by two aspects. Indeed, it is the first french test to be formated on the basis of the DSM-5. This allows for a beter differential detection, mainly by including 15 items relating to stereotyped behaviours among which sensory peculiarities. Secondly, the ADT is to be completed by mainstream nursery school teachers but remains scored and interpreted by second level child specialists (e.g. child neurologists/psychiatrists). Nonetheless, in the absence of a reference doctor, the ADT can also be used by paramedicals (e.g. psychologists), child prevention/protection teams, (school) mental health services or any other services in contact with children presenting an atypical development. Fast and easy to use, the ADT informs clinicians about the necessity to address children at risk of ASD to specialised diagnostic teams. In the countries where no screening process exists, the ADT can be used by autism diagnostic teams to quickly evaluate the relevance of multidiscipinary assessment or determine assessment priorities. 


The ADT results from several years of research within the context of a Ph.D programme at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It was created in response to the lack of effective ASD screening in many European countries. Its validation started with an exploratory study, followed by a prospective multicentric study. Results from this latter indicated a value of 0.94 for specificity and 0.83 in terms of sensibility, allowing for differential screening between risk of ASD and probability of another (neuro)developmental pathology.

The creation of ADT and its final results were presented in various international congresses such as the 10th international congress of Autism Europe, Budapest, Hungary (2013); 9th international congress of child and adolescent psychopathology, London, UK (2014); 15th international conference of child and adult psychiatry association, Athens, Greece (2015); 17th international conference of the european society of child and adolescent psychiatry, Geneva, Switzerland (2017); French congress of child and adolescent psychiatry and allied disciplines, Angers, France (2018); 10th annual world congress of neurotalk 2019, Osaka, Japan (20198); 18th congres of the european society of child and adolescent psychiatry, Vienna, Austria (2019); 12th international congres of Autism Europe, Nice, France (2019); 19th international meeting of speech therapy -special ASD, Paris (2019). 

Article relating to the exploratory scientific study : Carlier, S., Kurzeja, N., Ducenne, L., Pauwen, N., Leys, C., & Delvenne, V. (2017). Differential profile of four groups of children referred to an autism diagnostic service in Belgium: Autism-specific hallmarks. Journal of intellectual Disabilities, 22(4), 340-346. 

Article relating to the validation study (1) : Carlier, S., Ducenne, L., Stanciu, R., Deconinck, N., Wintgens, A., Orêve,M-J., & Delvenne, V. (2019). Improving autism screening in French-speaking countries: Validation of the Autism Discriminative Tool, a teacher-rated questionnaire for clinicians' use. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 61, 33-44. 

Article relating to the validation study (2) : Carlier, S., Ducenne, L., Colinet, H., Poncin, F., & Delvenne, V. (2021). Plus-value de l’implication des enseignants dans le dépistage des troubles du spectre autistique : divergences et convergences d’observations avec les parents et les professionnels sur base de l’Autism Discriminative Tool (ADT). Neuropsychiatrie de l’enfance et de l’adolescence, 69(5), 211-220. 


Orderings and prices

Our auto-edition politic makes the ADT affordable, in order to promote its use among professionals:
Belgium: 85 €  (all inclusive)
France, Luxembourg, Switzerland: 90 € (all inclusive)    
Canada: 95 € (all inclusive)                                                                                                                                 

Prices for other coutries on demand. To purchase the manual and forms, download the ordering form and send it to

ASD teams interested in validating an italian or english version of the ADT are welcome to contact me. 



Sophie Carlier

Sophie Carlier holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and several complementary university degrees in child psychology. She started her career in Great-Britain at the end of the 90’s, with a special interest for autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and its co-morbidities (PLD + mental health) and behavioural problems. Back in Belgium, she pursued her clinical community work, in combination with private practice, teaching and team supervision. Sophie Carlier alors works in an Autism Reference Center (third level diagnostic team) and an  early intervention unit based on the Early Start Denver Model. She dedicated her last years to the issue of autism screening, and how to improve its efficacy. The ADT is the first concrete publication helping professionals to identify ASD in children. It is completed by  "Repérage précoce, dépistage et diagnostic des TSA" (Editions Mardaga, to be published on 09/09/2021), a practical guide to developmental surveillance, screening and ASD diagnosis. Troubles du spectre de l'autisme chez l'enfant de Sophie Carlier (


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