Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2 (ADOS-2) training

Some of our team have substantial experience in doing autism assessments and training up other clinicians to do these as well.

One of the most important components of an autism assessment is a clinical interview (sometimes called a psychiatric interview). This is a conversation with one or more clinicians about a range of topics, including current difficulties, childhood development and what life was like growing up, education, employment, social relationships, physical health and emotional wellbeing, hobbies, strengths and preferences. This conversation helps clinicians start to think about how best a person’s strengths, difficulties and needs can be understood, what diagnosis may be appropriate and what recommendations may be useful.

An autism assessment can also include standardised assessments.

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2 (ADOS-2) is a standardised assessment that can be used with toddlers, children, young people and adults. It is designed to assess traits associated with autism, and involves some activities, including games and puzzles. It usually takes 30 – 60 minutes to complete. People can have low and high scores on the ADOS-2 for different reasons. This is why it is important to use this as part of an autism assessment, rather than forming a view about diagnosis solely on the ADOS-2 scores.

We offer three day ADOS-2 training, online via Zoom, covering Modules 1 – 4 (for children through to adults) and the Toddler Module.

From our experience, there are always a lot of questions about using the ADOS-2 with different clinical groups, so we emphasise practical considerations throughout.

The training is for:

    • Health professionals working in services that sometimes or routinely do autism assessments. This includes professionals with a clinical qualification, and unqualified professionals (such as assistant psychologists or neurodevelopmental practitioners) who work under supervision
    • Researchers using the ADOS-2

We provide ADOS-2 booklets and handouts prior to the training. We recommend that if you attend the training, you have access to an ADOS-2 kit and a manual.

There is some post-course work to complete within three months of the training. This includes watching one ADOS-2 tape and submitting scores. After this, we issue a certificate of clinical reliability.

If you would like to attain research reliability, you will need to record an ADOS-2 tape (obtaining consent from the person) and submit this together with the scores, attaining 70% consensus reliability with the trainers.

We provide more detail about different types of ADOS-2 reliability at the training.

The fee is £700 per person.

After completing ADOS-2 training, there is a period of consolidation of skills, as with most clinical courses. This usually involves shadowing ADOS-2 assessments, and doing them under observation and jointly scoring these, until reliability is similar to colleagues.

If useful, we can provide individual and group ADOS-2 supervision and ongoing reliability meetings to support learning. The fee for this is bespoke as it depends on how many people attend supervision.

We can also run bespoke courses for Mental Health Trusts that incorporate ADOS-2 training with other sessions. Examples of topics are an introduction to autism (useful for clinicians who are new to working with autistic people), and assessment and evidence-based treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions (useful for psychiatrists, psychologists and psychological therapists).

The training is run by Dr Debbie Spain, a dual qualified nurse, cognitive behaviour therapist and systemic practitioner, and Dr Eleni Paliokosta, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, based at the Effra Clinic. Debbie and Eleni have both been qualified for 20+ years, used the ADOS-2 for 15+ years across clinical and research settings and have worked in clinical, managerial and supervisory positions at several autism services.