Autism Research Institute

Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC)

To: Practitioners/Researchers concerned with various interventions for autism

Subject: The ATEC: free service to assist you in evaluating methods of treatment

From: Bernard Rimland, Ph.D. and Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.

There are a great many treatment methods used to help autistic children, but there are very few tests, scales, or other outcome measures that can be used to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments, which include:

Many research studies have used as criterion measures such instruments as the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS) or the Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC). These instruments were designed to diagnose autism--to help determine whether or not an individual is autistic--and were not designed to measure gradations of improvement--a very different task.

The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was specifically designed to assist researchers, practitioners, and parents in evaluating the efficacy of treatments. This web site contains a sample copy of the ATEC, information about the ATEC, and the reliability and standardization data which are presently available. There is no charge to anyone who wishes to use the ATEC. You may make as many copies as you wish, from the form that we enclose, or from the Internet.

Scoring the ATEC is also free. You simply enter the responses to the ATEC form on the ATEC scoring template on the Internet, and you will instantly be provided both a Total ATEC score and the scores of the four subtests which make up the ATEC:

If you are a practitioner of a certain type of therapy, say for example, EEG biofeedback, consider this possibility: contact 15 or 20 practitioners throughout the country who are also doing EEG biofeedback on autistic children, and arrange to do a no-cost multi-center study of the efficacy of EEG biofeedback. Each practitioner would ask parents to complete an ATEC before the beginning of the treatment (i.e., baseline), and then complete another ATEC every 2 to 4 weeks throughout the treatment process, or during whatever follow-up period you choose. Each of the forms provided to the parents would have a preprinted code in the space marked “project/purpose,” such as “EEG-14.” This would indicate that this form was completed for a child who was part of the EEG evaluation project, and the practitioner is number 14. The parents can enter their responses into our ATEC database/scoring system on their own home computer and thus receive instant feedback on their child’s progress; or if they do not have a computer, the parents could give the ATECs to you for entry by your office personnel.

At the end of the year (or whatever period you choose), we would be happy to provide your group with the data on all of the cases that were entered using the code name your group selected, whether the ATEC data were entered by the parent at home or by personnel at your office. You and/or your group could analyze the data in terms of the total score, subtest scores, or even at the item level, for any or all of the 77 items comprising the ATEC.

Please contact us if you have any questions.