Autism Screening Checklist (CSBS – DP)

In this post, we are going to discuss a checklist named CSBS-DP(The Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales – Developmental Profile) that is a screening tool for autism which is meant to be used for babies aging from 9 to 24 months.

This is basically a one-page checklist which is very efficient in detecting any communication impairment in a kid who is suspected to have a delay in the development of basic communication skills.

There are about 7 language predictors that are used by the experts to detect any kind of deviation that occurs from the normal responses in any kid so that the developmental delay can be identified. So we will now take a deeper look at each of these language predictors below : –

1 – Emotion and Eye Movements

We have discussed this in many of our previous posts like The 2-Stage Process“, a kid with any kind of possible disorder may show some symptoms that can differ a lot from the behavioral patterns of other kids of similar age.

Emotional responses are one of the key factors using which we can identify any developmental problem because a kid who is affected by ASD may fail to react under different circumstances in a similar manner like any other child.

Similarly, one of the basic characteristics of an autistic child is that they can not fix their gaze on something for a long duration and they also avoid direct eye contact. So these 2 factors are used as the first language predictors in this process.

2 – Communication

Unlike the other kids, a child affected by ASD is most commonly known for their inability to express personal feelings and needs.

As humans, we use 2 modes of communication methods i.e direct and indirect communication, based on this the next two predictors are determined as we will see in the further paragraphs.

3 – Indirect Mode of Communication: Gestures and Body Language

Even before we learn to make use of the basic verbal communication, we learn to express our needs using our body languages and gestures. But due to the developmental delay and difference in the brain functioning, an autistic kid finds it difficult to understand various forms of gestures we use for communication purpose.

Indirect modes of communication is always a challenge for an autistic kid, so this particular fact is used as the language predictor in this whole process.

Direct Mode of Communication

The next three points we are going to discuss here are based on the direct mode of communication which are as follows:-

4 – Sounds

Before we begin to understand the use of language, we learn to react and respond to sounds based on their quality and intensity.

But unlike the other kids, autistic children react differently to any specific sound or they may not even react.

5 – Use of Words

Once a baby starts to recognize the sounds it begins to imitate and associate various sounds with actions as well as it also starts to derive the meaning out of those sounds which further leads to their learning of language use.

Since we have already discussed that an autistic kid does not react to sounds like other kids do. Use of words thus becomes a very important factor in identifying any type of communication delay.

6 – Understanding Words

As we have seen in the above points, autism causes a significant difference in how a kid understands, comprehends and learns the use of language. Although, after some time a child may begin to make use of words and understand them, still they lag behind when it comes to the use of figurative language, so you should specifically keep this in mind while communicating with an autistic child.

7 – Use of Objects

It is very obvious that kids love to play with the models and toys based on our daily utilities like a fan, phone, mixer etc.

A kid can show the symptoms of autism by using the objects improperly by failing to understand the actual purpose of the utilities.


Once the screening is performed using the above 7 language predictors, the child specialists give points to a kid by keeping three factors in mind which are social skills, speech skills, and symbolic skills. Based on this score the risk of autism can be detected.

Sometimes a single evaluation is not enough to confirm the possibility of ASD, so a further extension of this process is performed for future evaluations which are called the follow-up caregiver questionnaire. Where all the 7 language predictors are used for a more meticulous examination of the child’s behavior.

Another extended form of this process is called “Behavior sample scoring worksheet” which consists of a single page, it considers a set of behavioral characteristics using which any deviation from the normal developmental characteristics can be accurately identified.


We have just given you a general idea about these tests, it is always best to take the support of a child’s specialist, but you can also acquire all the necessary knowledge to perform these steps at home using our suggested book – CSBS DP Infant toddler checklist and easy score by Amy M. Wetherby. You may also want to read our review of the program “Parenting children with Asperger’s and high functioning Autism“.


Thank you for reading our post, we hope it was useful to you. We would love to hear from you so kindly share your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions with us by commenting below.


2 responses to “Autism Screening Checklist (CSBS – DP)”

  1. Wow. This article is so beautifully written and easy to understand. I love reading about new things, and this is certainly new, has added to my knowledge. It isn’t actually the first time I’m hearing of autism, I once read a novel about it,and I am really interested in knowing as much as I possibly can.
    I saw in a movie once where an autistic person had a fear for yellow colors, is this a general fear, or does it vary individually?

    • Thank you for your comment. We hope our site will help you in gaining more and more knowledge about autism.

      Fear of any kind varies individually in autistic children depending upon the hypersensitivity of their senses.

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