Previously known as the 'Autism Screening Questionnaire', this brief instrument can be used to evaluate anyone over 4 years as long as his or her mental age exceeds 2 years.
It is available in two forms - Lifetime and Current - each composed of 40 yes or no questions. Both forms can be given directly to the parent or primary caregiver, who can answer the questions without supervision.
The 'Lifetime' form focuses on the child's entire developmental history, providing a total score that is interpreted in relation to specific cut-off points. The score identifies individuals who may have autism and should be referred for a more complete evaluation, using the Autism Diagnotic Interview-Revised, (ADI-R) or the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, (ADOS).
The 'Current' form looks at the child's behaviour over the most recent 3 month period. It produces results that can be helpful in treatment planning, educational intervention and measurement of change over time.
In addition to its screening and educational applications, the SCQ can also be used to compare symptom levels across various groups - children with developmental language disorders for example, or youngsters with medical conditions typically associated with autism spectrum disorders. Because SCQ is brief, easily administered and relatively inexpensive, it allows clinicians and educators to routinely screen children for autism spectrum disorders. This in turn permits early intervention.
The SCQ provides a dimensional measure of ASD symptomatology with a cut-off score that can be used to indicate the likelihood that an individual has an ASD. The three main uses of the instrument are:
- With individual children as a screening device; the SCQ can be used to select those who need a more thorough assessment for a possible ASD.
- SCQ scores can be used to compare overall levels of ASD symptomatology across different groups.
- To monitor changes in the level of ASD symptomatology over time.
The SCQ is suitable for screening and monitoring. It is not suitable for diagnosis because it does not give information relating to onset, course and pervasiveness of symtoms across contexts. Moreover it is based on caregiver reports and, for diagnostic purposes, these need to be checked against direct clinical observation.
To view a sample form (PDF) showing the first three items of the SCQ Current Form, please click here.
To view a sample form (PDF) showing the first three items of the SCQ Lifetime Form, please click here.