Detection & Connection Program:
Early Autism Identification & Intervention

The Pediatrics Detection & Connection Project aims to improve early ASD identification and intervention by utilizing a novel ASD screener (PDQ-1) to detect signs of autism in toddlers ages 18 – 36 months old. Positive screened children and families are then connected to a peer-support organization (Mom2Mom), who provide additional information/guidance regarding next steps and facilitate linkage to early intervention services and diagnostic evaluations.

Please reach out to us at if you’re interested in learning more about this project or partnering with us to implement the Pediatrics Detection & Connection Program at your practice/clinic.


The Psychological Development Questionnaire for Toddlers (PDQ-1) -- a brief, parent-report questionnaire, was developed by Rutgers--NJ Medical School investigators. The screener was designed to mark the social-pragmatic development of children between 18 and 36 months. The PDQ-1 can be administered in less than 3 minutes. The PDQ-1 was designed to be self-administered as a paper and pencil survey, or can be provided verbally through an associate.  PDQ-1 scoring can be completed in 3 minutes and yields a total score that is taken to represent early psychological awareness and relatedness.  A high PDQ-1 score (>15) is consistent with age-appropriate levels of social-communication development.  A PDQ-1 score falling below the risk threshold (≤12) may signify increased risk for psychological (social communication) deficit consistent with ASD.  Preliminary evidence using the PDQ-1 prospectively for ASD screening of general populations (Level 1) was positive (Zahorodny et al., 2018). 

Scoring Instructions:

  • PDQ-1 score ≤12: POSITIVE (at-risk)

  • PDQ-1 score 13-15: INCONCLUSIVE/BORDERLINE (might be at-risk)

  • PDQ-1 score ≥ 16: NEGATIVE (not at-risk)


Free access to the PDQ-1 (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole) is provided below, both digitally (automatic scoring/interpretation) and in PDF form (manual scoring needed):

PDQ-1 Validation Study



Mom2Mom is a peer support helpline staffed by moms of special needs children and adults. All Mom2Mom peers are trained peer support and crisis counselors. They offer peer support counseling, a place to vent, reassurance, a sounding board, advocacy skill building, and access to expert advice and reliable resources to help improve the lives of moms.
M2M website