Article

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 593-599

Utility of the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale in Research and Clinical Populations

  • Mikle SouthAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Utah
  • , Brenda J. WilliamsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Utah
  • , William M. McMahonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Utah
  • , Thomas OwleyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Chicago
  • , Pauline A. FilipekAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of California
  • , E. ShernoffAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Chicago
  • , Christine CorselloAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Chicago
  • , Janet E. LainhartAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Utah
  • , Rebecca LandaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

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Abstract

The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS) was developed as a relatively easy, inexpensive aid in the surveillance and diagnosis of autism. This study examined the validity of the GARS when used with a sample of 119 children with strict DSM-IV diagnoses of autism, ascertained from both clinical and research settings. The GARS consistently underestimated the likelihood that autistic children in this sample would be classified as having autism. The sample mean for the Autism Quotient, a hypothesized index of the likelihood of having autism, was 90.10, significantly below the reference mean of 100. Diagnostic classification according to criteria specified by the GARS resulted in a sensitivity of only .48. Limitations of rating scales in general and of the GARS specifically are discussed. It is recommended that clinicians and researchers using or considering using the GARS for autism diagnosis or ratings of autism severity recognize the need for further research regarding its use.

Autism diagnosis assessment psychometrics