Childhood Autism Spectrum Test
The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test, abbreviated as CAST and formerly titled the Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test, is a tool to screen for Asperger Syndrome and related social and communication conditions falling on the Autism Spectrum in children aged 4–11 years, in a non-clinical setting.
The pilot study was used to discern the preliminary cutoff scores for the CAST. Parents of 13 children with Asperger Syndrome and 37 typically developing children completed the CAST questionnaire. There were significant differences in average scores, with the Asperger Syndrome sample average of 21.08 (range 15 - 31) and the typical sample average of 4.73 (range 0 - 13).
Parents of 1150 primary school aged children were sent the CAST questionnaire, with 199 responders and 174 taking part in the full data analysis. The results suggested that, compared to other screening tools currently available, the CAST may be useful for identifying children at risk for Asperger Syndrome and related Autism Spectrum conditions, in a mainstream non-clinical sample.
Research is ongoing to establish accurate sensitivity data, validity, reliability, to replicate current findings in a larger and geographically more diverse sample, and to study the epidemiological issues in greater detail.
The CAST questionnaire contains 37 yes-or-no questions about the child's social behaviors and communication tendencies. It also contains a separate special needs section that asks about other comorbid disorders that the child might have.
- Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Brayne C. The CAST (Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test): preliminary development of a UK screen for mainstream primary-school-age children. Autism 2002 Dec; 6(4). PMID.
- Williams J, Allison C, Scott F, Stott C, Bolton P, Baron-Cohen S, Brayne C. The CAST (Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test): test accuracy. Autism. 2005 Feb;9(1):45-68. PMID.
- Williams J, et all. The Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST): test-retest reliability. Autism. 2006 Jul;10(4):415-27. PMID.