CARS-2: Childhood Autism Rating Scale–Second Edition Eric Schopler, Mary E. Van Bourgondien, Glenna Janette Wellman, Steven R. Love

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Ages: 2 years and older
Testing Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Administration: Individual

The Childhood Autism Rating Scale–Second Edition (CARS2) is a 15-item rating scale used to identify children with autism and distinguishing them from those with developmental disabilities. It is empirically validated and provides concise, objective, and quantifiable ratings based on direct behavioral observation. It was normed on a sample of 1,034 individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

This second edition of CARS expands the test’s clinical value, making it more responsive to individuals on the “high functioning” end of autism spectrum disorders. The clinician rates the individual on each item, using a 4-point rating scale. Ratings are based on frequency of the behavior in question, its intensity, peculiarity, and duration.

Physicians, special educators, school psychologists, speech pathologists, and audiologists will all find the CARS-2 easy to give and score.

The CARS-2 includes three forms:
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Questionnaire for Parents or Caregivers (CARS2-QPC): An unscored scale that gathers information for use in making CARS2ST and CARS2-HF ratings
The standard and high-functioning forms 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

The parent or caregiver of the individual being assessed completes this unscored form. Its primary purpose is to give the clinician more information on which to base the CARS2-ST or CARS2-HF ratings. The questionnaire covers an individual’s early development; social, emotional, and communication skills; repetitive behaviors; play and routines; and unusual sensory interests.

COMPLETE CARS2 KIT INCLUDES: 25 Standard Version Rating Booklets (CARS2-ST); 25 High-Functioning Version Rating Booklets (CARS2-HF); 25 Questionnaires for Parents or Caregivers (CARS2-QPC); and a Manual. (©2010)