Childhood Autism Rating Scale

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The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) is a behavior rating scale intended to help diagnose autism. CARS was developed by Eric Schopler, Robert J. Reichier, and Barbara Rochen Renner. The childhood-autism rating scale was designed to help differentiate children with autism from those with other developmental delays, such as intellectual disability.

Although there is no gold standard among rating scales in detecting autism, CARS is frequently used as part of the diagnostic process.[1] Development of the CARS began in 1966 with the production of a scale that incorporated the criteria of Leo Kanner (1943) and Creak (1964), and characteristic symptoms of childhood autism.[2] The original version of this test, the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) was published in 1989 and was correlated to the ICD-10 definition of autism.[3]

Evaluation criteria[edit]

The Childhood Autism Rating Scale is a diagnostic assessment method that rates children on a scale from one to four for various criteria, ranging from normal to severe, and yields a composite score ranging from non-autistic to mildly autistic, moderately autistic, or severely autistic. The scale is used to observe and subjectively rate fifteen items.

  • relationship to people
  • imitation
  • emotional response
  • fear and nervousness
  • verbal communication
  • non-verbal communication
  • activity level
  • level and consistency of intellectual response
  • general impressions


  1. ^ Ozonoff, S, Boodlin-Jones, B, & Solomon, M. (2005). Evidence-based assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 523-540.
  2. ^ Schopler E, Reichler RJ, DeVellis RF, Daly K (1980). "Toward objective classification of childhood autism: Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)". J Autism Dev Disord. 10 (1): 91–103. PMID 6927682. doi:10.1007/BF02408436. 
  3. ^ Echo Armman. "Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)". Autism-World. Retrieved 2007-03-28.