Virtual training improves clinician skills in diagnosing autism

Led by ACAR's clinical psychologist Mandy Steiman, participants gained skills toward diagnosing autism across ages, developmental levels and language skills

In May 2021, the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR) Clinic at The Neuro offered its first annual workshop on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2).

Led by clinical psychologist and certified trainer Dr. Mandy Steiman, 18 participants – including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoeducators, students and other allied health professionals who work in interdisciplinary teams – from the Greater Montreal Area gained additional skills toward diagnosing autism spectrum disorder across ages, developmental levels and language skills.

“This was a rare situation where a variety of public system centres were represented, allowing clinicians from different teams to learn together and from each other,” said Steiman.

By the end of the 5-session workshop, participants gained practical skills in the use of ADOS-2, an important gold standard tool in making a clinical diagnosis. They also became familiar with:

  • issues related to diagnosis of autism, including differential diagnosis, diagnosis in context, and complex clinical situations
  • administration and scoring of the ADOS-2
  • psychometric data and current research on the ADOS-2.

“My goal was to equip our participants with an improved ability to conduct standardized assessments, as well as perform their clinical evaluations with greater confidence. It’s my hope that workshops like these will help build clinical capacity in our healthcare system by empowering those who attended to take the critical information about autism diagnosis and the ADOS-2 and share it with their teams and trainees,” Steiman emphasized.

“In turn, patients and their families will benefit from informed assessments founded in solid clinical recommendations and up-to-date research literature."

The ACAR Clinic will host ADOS-2 training workshops yearly as part of its Clinical Capacity Building Program.

In September 2021, the Clinic will also be offering training in the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R), another gold-standard instrument for the assessment of autism and accompanying tool to the ADOS-2.

For more information about upcoming professional development and training opportunities, visit the Centre's event listings, follow us on Twitter for regular updates, or contact jessica.charlebois [at] (Jessica Charlebois).

About the Trainer
Mandy Steiman is a clinical psychologist and expert diagnostician of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She has worked at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) since 2006. She currently holds a clinical position at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and a research position through the MUHC’s Research Institute (RI-MUHC). Dr. Steiman contributes to quality assurance and helps develop integrated research/clinical protocols run through ACAR Clinic, including the Q1K Project (Quebec 1,000 Families). Dr. Steiman is also a certified trainer for autism diagnostic measures (ADOS-2 and ADI-R) and has much experience supervising and training professionals on best practices for autism diagnosis.

About ACAR
The Neuro’s Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR) transforms research, training and care to improve the quality of life of autistic people and their families. Established in 2017 thanks to the Azrieli Foundation, ACAR operates in the spirit of Open Science, inclusion and community collaboration. The state-of-the-art research centre is committed to advancing understanding of the mechanisms underlying autism and related conditions, developing new diagnostic tools and effective interventions through translational research and integrated care, and training the next generation of fundamental and clinical autism researchers.

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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