Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 787-799

Using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Colby ChlebowskiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut Email author 
  • , James A. GreenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut
  • , Marianne L. BartonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut
  • , Deborah FeinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut

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Abstract

This study investigated the childhood autism rating scale (CARS) as a tool for ASD diagnoses for 2-year-old (n = 376) and 4-year-old (n = 230) children referred for possible autism. The cut-off score to distinguish autistic disorder from PDD-NOS was 32 in the 2-year-old sample (consistent with Lord in J Child Psychol Psychiatry Allied Discipl, 36, 1365–1382, 1995), and 30 in the 4-year-old sample, with good sensitivity and specificity at both ages. The cut-off score to distinguish ASD from non-ASD at both ages was 25.5, with good sensitivity and specificity. Results confirm the utility of the CARS in distinguishing autistic disorder from PDD-NOS, and distinguishing ASD from other developmental disorders and typical development and suggest that an ASD cutoff around 25, which is in common clinical use, is valid.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Childhood autism rating scale Diagnosis PDD-NOS