Multi-site Study of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) in Five Clinical Groups of Young Children
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This study examined several questions pertaining to the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) in a sample of 274 preschool children (aged 2–6 years) clinically diagnosed as falling in one of five groups: Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, MR, Delayed, and Other. In addition to diagnosis and the CARS, all children were given standardized cognitive and adaptive behavior measures. Results indicated high concordance between the CARS and clinical diagnosis using DSM-IV (including excellent sensitivity and specificity). There was a moderate negative correlation of CARS scores and developmental level (both cognitive and adaptive), indicating significant shared variance. There were significant and sensible differences in mean CARS score for different diagnostic groups, including a substantial difference between the Autistic Disorder and PDD-NOS groups.
KeywordsCARS diagnosis assessment autism PDD-NOS MR.
We are grateful to the psychometrists, practicum students, and doctoral interns who helped collect the data for this study: Carol Haddad, Jane Heintz Grove, Marjolaine Limbos, Susana Correia, Tara Smith, Jenny Demark, Terry Diamond, Jane Ormrod; and to Dr. James Worling and Kelly Geier, who assisted with data coding and analysis. As always, we are grateful to the parents for consenting to have their children’s data used for research purposes. We appreciate the support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Surrey Place Centre, and the TRE-ADD Program at Thistletown Regional Centre but the views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the supporting organizations or the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
This paper was presented at the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network (CAIRN) annual conference in February, 2003. A partial data set was presented at The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in April, 1999 in Albequerque, NM and at the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) in June, 2000 in Ottawa, ON.
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