Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)

March 28th, 2007

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is a semi-structured interview for a clinician to use with the child’s parent or principal caregiver. The original version of this test, the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) was published in 1989 (LeCouteur et al., 1989) and was correlated to the ICD-10 definition of autism. The original ADI was intended primarily for research purposes, providing behavioral assessment for subjects with a chronological age of at least five years and a mental age of at least two years. The ADI-R (Lord et al., 1994) is a shorter version of the ADI, which has been developed for clinical use. It is intended to be briefer and more appropriate for younger children than the ADI. The ADI-R takes from 11/2 to 2 hours to administer and can be used with children as young as two years of age (with a mental age greater than 18 months). The ADI and the ADI-R focus on getting maximal information from the parent about the three key areas defining autism: (1) reciprocal social interaction; (2) communication and language; and (3) repetitive, stereotyped behaviors.


  1. The ADI-R may be useful as part of a multidisciplinary intake assessment in diagnosing young children with possible autism. [C]
  2. Because of the time needed to administer the ADI-R, and the extensive training needed, this test may not be a practical assessment method in all clinical situations. [D1]
  3. A structured parent interview, such as the ADI-R, is a method that can help maximize parental recall but is not a substitute for direct observation of the child by a professional assessing the child. Therefore, it is important to supplement structured parent interviews with direct observation of the child. [D1]
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