Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ)
The ASSQ is a 27 question assessment filled in by parents or teachers of children or adolescents (6 to 17 years of age). It is designed to be an initial screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) especially in those with high or normal IQ, or those with only mild intellectual disability. It can be used with boys and girls and uses the older conceptualisation of Aspergers syndrome to describe people on the milder end of the autism spectrum. It is not appropriate for people with moderate or severe intellectual disability.
Validity and Reliability
In a sample of 87 boys and 23 girls aged 6 to 17 it was found that autism spectrum disorder (DSM-IV Aspergers) validation sample scored an average of 25.1 (SD 7.3) (Ehlers, Gillberg, Wing, 1999). These scores were similar to those of the autism spectrum disorder group in the main sample. The subjects in the validation sample were independently diagnosed with ASD (DSM-IV Aspergers) by a psychologist specializing in the disorder and a child psychiatrist. Moderately and severely intellectually disabled children were excluded due to the fact that the ASSQ does not tap features characteristic for such low-functioning subjects.
Convergent validity was determined by a Pearson correlation between parent ratings on the ASSQ and Rutter scale was r = .75 n = 107; p < .0001. The mean interrater difference (i.e., between parent and teacher scoring) on the ASSQ (paired t test) was -1.96; t(104) = -2.39; p = .0188. No significant gender differences or differences across normal and intellectually disabled subjects were found regarding mean total score on the ASSQ.
Scoring and Interpretation
Results consist of a total score between 0 and 54, where higher scores indicate that many characteristics of ASD were reported. A score of 13 and above indicates ASD is probable, with a true positive rate of 90% and a false positive rate of 22% (Ehlers, Gillberg, Wing, 1999).
In addition, a percentile based on Ebler, Gillberg and Wing (1999) sample of ASD children is presented. A percentile of around 50 would indicate that this individual scored at a similar level to the validation sample who were independently diagnosed with ASD (DSM-IV Aspergers). A percentile of 4.9 corresponds to the the cutoff raw score of 13. See developer reference for further details.
Ehlers, S., Gillberg, C., & Wing, L. (1999). A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 29(2), 129-141.