Since its original publication, the CARS has been one of the most widely-used and empirically-validated Autism assessments. It has proven especially effective in discriminated between children with Autism and those with severe cognitive deficits, and in distinguishing mild-to-moderate from severe Autism.
CARS2 expands the testás clinical value, making it more responsive to individuals on the áhigh functioningá end on the Autism Spectrumáthose 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, CARS2 adds forms and features that integrate diagnostic information, determine functional capabilities, provide feedback to parents, and designed targeted intervention.
CARS2 includes three forms:
Standard Version (CARS2-ST) Rating Bookletáequivalent to the original CARS, for use with individuals younger than 6 years, and those with communication difficulties, or below-average estimated IQs
High-Functioning Individuals (CARS2-HF) Rating Bookletán alternative for assessing verbally-fluent individuals, 6 years and older, with IQ scores above 80
Questionnaire for Parent of Caregivers (CARS2-QPC)án unscored scale that gathers information for making SARS2-ST and CARS2-HF ratings
The Standard and High-Functioning Forms (CARS2-ST and CARS2-F-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)
*Object Use (ST); Object Use in Play (HF)
*Adaptation to Change (ST); Adaptation to Change/Restricted Interests (HF)
*Taste, Smell and Touch Response and Use
*Fear or Nervousness (ST); Fear or Anxiety (HF)
*Activity Level (ST); Thinking/Cognitive Integration Skills (HF)
*Level and Consistency of Intellectual Response
Items on the Standard Form (ST) duplicate those on the original CARS, while items on the High-Functioning (HF) Form have been modified to reflect current research on the characteristics of people with high-functioning Autism or Aspergerás 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 greater flexibility in integrating diagnostic information, it still yields quantitative results.
The Rating Booklets for both the Standard and High-Functioning versions are particularly convenient. They include space for clinical note-taking and documentation. The briefly describe each area rated, providing a reminder of rating criteria and a framework for explaining results to parents. Cutoff values are listed for easy determination of 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 quick conversion of 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.
Questionnaire for Parent of Caregivers
The CARS2-QPC is an unscored form completed by the parent or caregiver of the individual being assessed. It provides the clinician more information on which to base CARS2 ratings. Often, the questionnaire serves as the framework for a follow-up interview, during which the clinician can clarify and interpret the responses provided by the parent or caregiver.
The CARS2-QPC covers:
*Social, Emotional and Communication Skills
*Play and Routines
*Unusual Sensory Interests
CARS2 is the best way to inform and support diagnosis:
1. Covers the entire Autism Spectrum, as defined by empirical research
2. Based on decades of use, with thousands of referred individuals
3. Assesses virtually all ages and functional levels
4. Provides concise, objective and quantifiable ratings
5. Scores show a consistent, strong, positive and specific relationship with Autism diagnosis
6. Ratings are reliable across time, settings, sources of information and raters
The CARS2 Kit includes 25 each of the ST and HF Rating Booklets, Questionnaires for Parents or Caregivers, and a Manual.