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 Spring 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).

Gaining key skills in diagnosing autism 

Led by clinical psychologist and certified trainer Mandy Steiman, eighteen 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 is to equip our participants with an improved ability to conduct standardized assessments, as well as perform their clinical evaluations with greater confidence," Steiman emphasized. 

"It’s my hope that workshops like these will help build clinical capacity in our healthcare system by empowering those who attend to take the critical information about autism diagnosis and the ADOS-2 and share it with their teams and trainees."

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

Building a community of shared expertise

The ACAR Clinic hosts ADOS-2 training workshops annually as part of its Clinical Capacity Building Program – the first of its kind in Quebec.

Its professional development opportunities help to enhance the skills of autism professionals and build a community of shared learning, support and expertise.

This program is approved for continuing medical education (CME) accreditation by the Office for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Accreditation ensures that activities in which participants take part meet McGill’s high educational standards.

Learn more about our upcoming workshops or register to join our mailing list



About the Trainer

Mandy Steiman is a clinical psychologist specializing in the assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder and associated diagnoses. She received an undergraduate degree at McGill University, before receiving Master of Science and Doctoral degrees at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

Dr. Steiman has held positions at the McGill University Health Centre since 2006, working with complex and diverse clinical populations and leading multi-disciplinary teams. For over 15 years, she has served as a clinical site leader for numerous multi-site and longitudinal research studies. At ACAR Clinic, Dr. Steiman contributes to the development and implementation of integrated clinical-research protocols.

Dr. Steiman trains students and professionals from a wide range of disciplines in diagnostic assessment for both research and clinical purposes. She is a certified trainer for diagnostic tools, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – Second Edition (ADOS-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R). Her goal is to train professionals to provide high quality, evidence-based care while employing an empathic and collaborative approach with patients and their families.



About ACAR

The 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 (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are 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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