Do you think you might have Autism? Or are you concerned about someone else but not sure what to do about it next? Read this article written by a registered psychologist to discover more about GARS testing and how to use it to check for Autism.
Common Indicators of Autism:
As mentioned in the ‘What is Autism?' blog article, there isn’t just one indicator or one set of behaviours that define Autism. Some of the more common indicators of autism might include:
For other indicators of autism and an overall introduction, you can read the ‘What is Autism?’ blog on the website.
What is the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)?
The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS) is one of the most widely used tools for the assessment of autism in the world. Developed by James E. Gilliam in 1995, the GARS reflects the items and sub-scales of the DSM-5 to screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder in people between the ages of 3 and 22.
As autism exists on a spectrum where the degree of difficulty experienced by each individual can be different, diagnosis can also be challenging as you may not ‘tick all the boxes’ in terms of the autism indicators. This, along with the fact that there are many different subtypes of autism established by medical professionals, could lead to a lack of clarity when it comes to diagnosis. This then led to the creation of scales such as the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, the latest being the GARS-3, to be used as a standardised measure of autism in clinical practice.
What the GARS-3 includes:
A focal point of the GARS-3 is that it is a norm-reference tool. This means that the test compares and ranks your scores based on other individuals in the same group as you. These groups can be based on age, race or ethnicity, and/or your socioeconomic status, among other things, depending on the specific test you are taking or administering. The GARS-3 a 3-part kit that includes; an examiner’s manual, the summary and response forms, and an instructional objective booklet for individuals who have autism.
The Sub-scales of the GARS-3: The GARS-3 has six sub-scales that were developed based on the DSM-5 and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) definitions of autism. These subscales, which you will either administer or answer, are: Restricted and/or Repetitive Behaviours scale, which contains 13 items; the Social Interaction sub-scale, which contains 14 items; the Social Communication sub-scale, which contains 9 items; the Emotional Responses sub-scale, which has 8 items; the Cognitive Style sub-scale with 7 items; and the Maladaptive Speech sub-scale with 7 items as well.
Overall, the GARS-3 has 58 items. The duration of the test depends on the individual. These six sub-scales help to identify which areas of autism the characteristics that you or your child are experiencing fall under. It can also be suitable for estimating the severity of autism, along with identifying its characteristics.
Evidence from researchers and testers has also shown the GARS-3 to produce scores that are valid and reliable. Furthermore, the items on the sub-scales covered are also in harmony with the Autism Society’s definition of autism as well as the DSM-5. The main limitation, however, would be that the GARS scale can only be compared to individuals who have been diagnosed with autism and therefore it cannot be used as a standalone tool to diagnose autism.
To find out more information about other ways to quickly check if you or a loved one has autism, get in touch with our team at The Mind Remedy on 07931903310 to book a free 15-minute chat with a Psychologist.