The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
The Childhood Autism Rating Scale, also known as CARS, is an instrument used for evaluating young children who have symptoms of autism. The parents of the child will have to provide answers to a list of questions regarding their child's behaviours in 15 different areas, such as Body use, Relating to people, Verbal communication, Adaptation to change etc.
Below is a sample of questions that is used to rate the severity of autism in children (by Eric Schopler, Robert Reichler, MD, and Barbara Rochen Renner, Western Psychological Services, Los Angeles: 1993). Taken from Autism Center - Diagnostic Tools
1 Age appropriate body use. The child moves with the same ease, agility, and coordination of a normal child of the same age.
1.5 (if between these points)
2 Mildly abnormal body use. Some minor peculiarities may be present, such as clumsiness, repetitive movements, poor coordination, or the rare appearance of more unusual movements.
(if between these points)
3 Moderately abnormal body use. Behaviors that are clearly strange or unusual for a child of this age may include strange finger movements, peculiar finger or body posturing, staring or picking at the body, self-directed aggression, rocking, spinning, finger-wiggling, or toe-walking.
3.5 (if between these points)
4 Severely abnormal body use. Intense or frequent movements of the type listed above are signs of severely abnormal body use. These behaviors may persist despite attempts to discourage them or involve the child in other activities.
The Autism Center