CARS2™
Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition 

Eric Schopler, Ph.D.
Mary E. Van Bourgondien, Ph.D.
Glenna Janette Wellman, Ph.D.
& Steven R. Love, Ph.D.

Description

The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) helps to identify children (2 years and older with Autism, specifically, distinguishing them from developmentally handicapped children who are not Autistic. In addition, it distinguishes between mid-to-moderate and severe Autism. Its brevity makes it a very useful tool to help you recognize and classify Autistic children.

Now the CARS2 expands the test's clinical value, making it more responsive to individuals on the "high functioning" end of the Autism Spectrum—those with average or higher IQ scores, better verbal skills, and more subtle social and behavioral deficits. While retaining the simplicity, brevity, and clarity of the original test, the CARS2 adds forms and features that help you intergrate diagnostic information, determine functional capabilities, provide feedback to parents, and design targeted intervention. Updated and enhanced, the CARS2 covers the entire Autism Spectrum, including Asperger's Syndrome.

How to Use the Assessment
Items on the Standard form duplicate those on the original CARS, while items on the High Functioning form have been modified to reflect current research on the characteristics of people with high functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

The clinician rates the individual on each item, using a 4-point response scale. Ratings are based not only on frequency of the behavior in question, but also on its intensity, peculiarity, and duration. While this more nuanced approach gives you greater flexibility in integrating diagnostic information, it still yields quantitative results.

T
he Rating Booklets for both the Standard and High Functioning versions are particularly convenient. They include space for clinical note-taking and documentation. They briefly describe each area rated, providing a reminder of rating criteria and a framework for explaining results to parents. And they list cutoff values so that you can see at a glance whether further evaluation is warranted. 

Rating values for all items are summed to produce a Total Raw Score. Each form includes a graph that allows you to quickly convert the Total Raw Score to a standard score or percentile rank (based on a clinical sample of 1,034 individuals with autism spectrum disorders). The Manual provides guidelines for score interpretation, suggestions for intervention, and case examples.Back to the top

Scales & Forms

Standard Version Rating Booklet (CARS2-ST)
Equivalent to the original CARS; for use with individuals younger than 6 years of age and those with communication difficulties or below-average estimated IQs

High-Functioning Version Rating Booklet (CARS2-HF)
An alternative for assessing verbally fluent individuals, 6 years of age and older, with IQ scores above 80

Questionnaire for Parents or Caregivers (CARS2-QPC)
An unscored scale that gathers information for use in making CARS2-ST and CARS2-HF ratings

The Standard and High-Functioning Forms
The CARS2-ST and CARS2-HF each include 15 items addressing the following functional areas:

  • Relating to People
  • Imitation (ST); Social-Emotional Understanding (HF)
  • Emotional Response (ST); Emotional Expression and Regulation of Emotions (HF)
  • Body Use
  • Object Use (ST); Object Use in Play (HF)
  • Adaptation to Change (ST); Adaptation to Change/Restricted Interests (HF)
  • Visual Response
  • Listening Response
  • Taste, Smell, and Touch Response and Use
  • Fear or Nervousness (ST); Fear or Anxiety (HF)
  • Verbal Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Activity Level (ST); Thinking/Cognitive Integration Skills (HF)
  • Level and Consistency of Intellectual Response
  • General Impressions

QUICK FACTS

Authors
Eric Schopler, Ph.D.,
Mary E. Van Bourgondien, Ph.D.,
Glenna Janette Wellman, Ph.D.,
& Steven R. Love, Ph.D.

Age Range 2 and older

Administration Time 5–10 minutes

Administration Type Clinician-administered

Qualification Level B

Formats
  • Handscored

RELATED ASSESSMENT

ASRS