GARS Gilliam Autism Rating Scale | Autism PDD


Thanks Islanddreamer.  We have no problem getting the services, as he has had service since about 24 months of age.  The school is going to pay for the autistic testing and offered to put in the special preschool again this year with ST, OT, but we declined.  We just have him in speech 2x a week for now.  I just want the correct help for him and a correct diagnosis, but I can see now that if you get the PPD-NOS diagnosis, it is the "waste-basket" diagnosis.  In other words, if it does not fit any other diagnoses they call it PPD-NOS. 

By the way, we got our son to start talking by teaching him the phrase "I want"  It took 3 very frustrating days of witholding movies, special treats, car rides, etc., but it worked.  It was a whole new word for him once he got that phrase down.  (he was about 2-1/2)  Of course he said "I want crackers" for pretty much everything for the first week, but we didn't care.  We started working on naming objects after that. 

Mark - you wrote exactly what I was going to write. 

My son is similar to yours, Crystal, in that we don´t have a diagnosis, just obvious ´deficits´.  He doesn´t have tantrums.  He´s very affectionate and gives eye contact.  I haven´t really noticed any behaviours that I could definitely call ´stimming´, although he does do one or two unusual things such as lots of grunting and growling (purely to amuse himself).  His most obvious problem is that, at 2.5 years, he doesn´t have a single word and won´t communicate his needs or likes to us in any shape or form.

The neuro-pediatrician that we saw was unwilling to say whether he was autistic or not - she acted as if it really didn´t matter - what we had to do was start correcting his lack of communication as soon as possible.  So we have now started Occupational Therapy and will start Speech Therapy once he starts trying to say words or communicate.

I imagine that in the States a label or dx is important in order to get the services you need.  But ultimately the Spectrum is very, very wide and children who are delayed in one thing or another should just get treated symptomatically and not just as ´autistic´.  Can´t relate to other kids, get play therapy.  Can´t communicate, get occupational therapy.  Can´t form words, get speech therapy.

Don´t worry too much about WHAT it is.  Instead start thinking about what he needs and try to sort that out first.  Good luck, I know what you´re going through.

It is hard.  With my husband not thinking there is a problem, I think sometimes he talks me into thinking that nothing is wrong.  I do not know if I am in denial or if he really does not have autism.  I am leaning towards the PPD-NOS diagnosis.  These tests are confusing sometimes.  Crystal --

It sounds to me like you have concerns about his speech and interaction with others. The diagnosis is secondary to these concerns. It can't hurt to get him evaluated by a clinic that does speech and/or occupational therpay. They won't diagnose, but they will tell if they see deficits and what they would suggest you do to work on them. The diagnosis will come, but it's not something that is black and white. You could take him to 3 or 4 pediatric neurologists and get 3 or 4 diagnoses, probably dependant on his behavior that particular day. Also, the diagnosis he gets today might be different in 2 or 3 years. He might be on the spectrum today, and not able to be scored there in a year or two.

This is why I say the diagnosis isn't "important." Of course, labels help to solidify our coping mechanisms and to secure benefits and services (if required). But it's just a word. Our son has a diagnosis of "mild ASD," but I guarantee that if he were in a room with 4 other kids with that same diagnosis, they would all appear to be very, very different. So we concentrate not on the label but on his core deficits -- and he's making gains in every one of those areas! So, hopefully, in time, the label won't matter at all.


Helpfful list of testing.
Good luck! I hope you find the answers you need, to help you help your child.Jean38642.9641666667Hi,

If I am remembering that test right I think that they take the raw score and then apply a formula to get a standard score on each sub-section and then on the whole test. The formula was not included in our packet.

Also, I wanted to share that my son is diagnosed with Aspergers. He scored very mild on GARS, but actually scores non-autistic on CARS. Like another parent responded I think the best think is to address the child's weaknesses through therapeutic intervention because one test often does not give a clear enough picture of the child. Best wishes to you and your family...keith scored 47.5 severe autistic, on the was hard for  me to grade him b/c i did it based on B4 he started his meds... he ahas made so much progress on his meds now, the improvement is really great 2 see. The real question, of course, isn't what label makes most sense. The question is does he need help, be it speech therapy, behavioral therapy, social interaction intervention or something else. You don't have to be on the spectrum to need help in any of those areas. Of course, he might not need any help at all! He sounds pretty well off.

It couldn't hurt to have him assessed, tho. It's always enlightening to see your child through the eyes of specialists familair with developmental disorders. And better early than later.

I socred my son at 31, BTW. The assessment team wouldn't share their score with me, but I'm guessing it was around that number.
mark_dad38642.820775463Thanks Marks dad.  I am going to look at it right now.  I have to mail this one back, we just could not decipher the scoring.  He scores 26.5,  0 to 30 is not autistic.  We are very close, but just not quite at the diagnosis level.   I think if anything it is Aspergers.   He speaks in sentences and hardly ever uses just one word.  He has so many memorized phrases that are used appropriately MOST of the time, but every once in a while he slips up.I have the pdf version of the CARS test if anybody wants it.

Jill, can you PM that version to me? Thanks. I like to look at it. By the way, how's ABA for Jacob?  


ABA starts on Friday!  Woo hoo!!!!

Personally, the childbrain was one of the best for me. It explained each question as to how to answer it and what it meant and it scored so easily. Now if you think aspergers I would try an asperger test maybe. I never tried those cuz ds doesn't have much language. I know most of the good tests I took are in the Newbie Post. Good luck finding answers!


I'm only familar with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (C.A.R.S.). Have you tried that one out yet? Our son scored in the "mildly autistic" range on that test, both when I did it and when the eval team we saw did it.

I found a copy of the test online a while back... having trouble finding it right now, of course. If I find it, I'll post the link here.

mark_dad38642.7596643519Here it is!

Usual disclaimer applies (i.e. the test is supposed to be administered by a clinician).
Hi..have posted here a couple of times, but we just are not sure if our son has PPD-NOS or autism.....or neither and just speech delay.  We are doing this Gilliam questionairre and are confused about the scoring.  Has anyone taken this test.  We go in for formal autism testing in November but they want this back before.  He scores 9 points for sterotyped behaviors, 11 for communication, 5 for social interfaction, and 1 point for developmental day, giving him a total of 26 but the scale starts at 69 for "very low probability". and goes up to 131 points.  We think is low on probability, but not that low.  This is for a 3-1/2 year old.  I do not know how often they give this test.  Thanks for any replies in advance

I first found this site for asperger's:

I also found this:

And this site has lots of info on aspergers including tests and I think it has the GADS test which is well known for aspergers. Hope this helps:


I just want to add that there is a huge difference between the GARS and the GADS. Our school psych gave us the GARS and our son didn't come close to registering on the scale as autistic. However, when I requested that we fill out the GADS - he was very much on the spectrum! Our son is very verbal and has very mild PDD-NOS, but clearly had issues. The GARS isn't very appropriate for a child who is on the more mild end of the spectrum - it just won't pick up the subtle nuances.

When we finally got the GADS results scored, the school district realized that our son was right on the border of qualifying, so they reversed their decision and did an override to qualify him for services. In that regard, a diagnosis does matter - if it will get you services!

Also, I'm not totally positive, but I don't think that the raw scores that you tally completely translate to the score of where they fall on the spectrum. I think that the professionals scoring it have to translate the raw scores.

Oh, I better add that the GADS is the Gilliam Asperger Disorder Scale as opposed to the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale!

Heres a link to MANY  screening tools and rating scales... ry/screeningtools_table.asp

anyone interested may also want to check out the ones listed in the Newbie thread

Screening Tools/ Rating Scales > Table of All Screening Tools & Rating Scales  
    Last Updated: August 8, 2005        

Screening Tools & Rating Scales

  Please read Before You Begin to learn about the purpose and scope of the screening tools and rating scales provided below.


How to Use the Table


The screening tools and rating scales in the table below can be used to help measure a young person’s mental health symptoms, and/or measure progress after interventions are put in place at school or at home.

For each screening tool or rating scale, the table indicates: the age range for the instrument, who completes the instrument, the number of items in the instrument and how long it takes to complete, and whether free access is available on line.

To help you decide whether a screening tool or rating scale might be appropriate to use with respect to a particular child, you can click on the DETAIL link next to the tool or scale. The DETAIL pages give more detailed information about the tool or scale, including a color-coded summary of who the instrument is designed for (i.e., parents, teachers, students, and/or clinicians). The DETAIL pages also provide direct links to view, download, or order the tools and scales. The DETAIL pages are organized by symptom, so, for example all the screening tools and scales for anxiety are on the anxiety DETAIL page.




Please keep in mind the following cautions:

  • Use of the screening tools and rating scales does not produce a diagnosis. Rather, the tools and scales point toward the types of mental health disorders that may be worthwhile to consider as a cause of a child’s or adolescent’s emotional or behavioral difficulties.
  • A particular “score” does not mean that a child has a particular disorder – these screening tools and rating scales are only one component of an evaluation.
  • Diagnoses should be made only by a trained clinician after a thorough evaluation.
  • Symptoms suggestive of suicidal or harmful behaviors warrant immediate attention by a trained clinician.

Table of All Screening Tools & Rating Scales


Anxiety Symptoms

Social Anxiety Symptoms

Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms

Depression Symptoms

Bipolar Disorder/Mania Symptoms

Suicide Risk Symptoms

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms

Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism Symptoms

Asperger's Disorder Symptoms

Disruptive Behavior Symptoms

You may also be interested in



  • The Australian Scale For Asperger's Syndrome
     Tony Attwood, PhD. This is a questionnaire designed to identify behaviors and abilities indicative of AS in school age children. This scale is also available in Dr. Attwood's book Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide For Parents and Professionals. To view this paper in Spanish Click Here

  • Using the Vinland to predict Autism and Asperger Syndrome This is a short printed interview with Sara Sparrow, PhD, senior autor of the "Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales", considered to by some to be the "gold standard" regarding diagnosis of AS and Autism.

  • The PDD Assessment/Screening Scale This is an *experimental" screening tool based on the DSM criteria for Autism located on the Childbrain Pediatric Neurology Web site.

  • AQ Test: Autism-Spectrum Quotient
    This is a test developed by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University in the UK as a measurement of the extent of autistic traits in adults. It was featured in the September, 2001 issue of WIRED Magazine. This is a link to WIRED's web site.

  • ASDS: Asperger Syndrome Disgnostic Scale
    Brenda Smith Myles, Stacey Jones Bock, and Richard L. Simpson

    This scale consists of several subscales including: Language, Social, Maladaptive, Cognitive, Sensory Motor, and Key Questions. This scale is for use by professionals. It is a new scale, so please consider recommending it to professionals who work with your children.Dr. Myles is the co-author of Asperger Syndrome: A Guide For Educators and Parents, Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage and Meltdowns, Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Issues: Practical Solutions for Making Sense of the World. These books can be found at the OASIS Bookstore

    This scale is available now from Autism/Asperger Publishing Company

  • GADS: The Gilliam Asperger's Disorder Scale
    James E. Gilliam

    This scale consists of several sub-scales including: Restricted Pattern of Behavior, Cognitive Patterns, Pragmatic Skills, Early Development, and Key Question. This scale can be completed by both parents and professionals. This scale is new, so please consider recommending it to those professionals working with your children. Dr. Gilliam is the author of several rating scales including the GARS (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale). In addition, Dr. Gilliam is interested in hearing from families who might like to participate in the norming of his scales. For more information contact him at:

    The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale is being revised. Research is being done to improve this test and enhance its use. Would you be interested in participating in this research? By selecting the link to the survey site, you will be able to complete the GARS on-line on someone you know who has autism. This will only take 5-10 minutes of your time. Your participation and the participation of others is needed to improve this useful diagnostic instrument. If you need further information, contact Dr. James E. Gilliam at: or at his website: Please inform others you know who might be interested in this research. We need as many participants as possible. Thank you in advance for your participation and support.

    To Participate Go to:

    This scale is available through PRO-ED at:
    8700 Shoal Creek Avenue
    Austin, Texas 78757
    Phone number: 512-451-3246

    Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Screening Tool

    It has been recommended that all Pediatricians administer the chat screening test to all of their patients during the child's 18 month well-baby checkup. This is a link to an ASA webpage.

Thank you so much.  I am going to check that out right now while I have time.  We were not sure if there was a "key" that we did not have or not.  I have already sent it in, but I remember the numbers.  Is is for our November visitWow, it says they are in the process of revising the GARS, (the one I had a question about)...wonder why.  Hope it is accurate.  His preschool daycare had to fill a GARS out also.I don't know when this page was last revised on OASIS, but the GADS has been around for a while. It has been normed and is being used in schools (like my son's). Since that is the case, I'm assuming that the GARS has already been revised and that you got a newer version. I would have to look back at my file which has a copy of both tests and I would bet it has the copyright date on it. I remember looking at it and the GADS wasn't brand-new or it would have stood out to me.I just used the CARS test and I thought I was being generous (scoring the lesser of the choices when she fell between 2).  I did it twice, once on the stimulants and once w/out the stimulants and before she began ST.  Without the meds, she scored a 46.5 in the severe range!  On the meds and with ST she received a 19.5.  Now, I have to say she has been in ST for a year and it has made a world of difference, but isn't that drastic to go from a severe range (and I am sure she is not severely autistic--HFA, Asperger'rs or PDD at the most) to not fitting the criteria?  I even went back and did the test again thinking I must of done something wrong!  No wonder I get different answers from each doctor I see---I get different answers from myself!  lol [QUOTE=DovesNest]

Personally, the childbrain was one of the best for me. It explained each question as to how to answer it and what it meant and it scored so easily. Now if you think aspergers I would try an asperger test maybe. I never tried those cuz ds doesn't have much language. I know most of the good tests I took are in the Newbie Post. Good luck finding answers!



An Asperger test? Can you recommend one? Sometimes I feel that Katy isn't Autistic but Aspergers seems feasible.