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Screening Tool: Autism Spectrum Disorder (in Children and Youth)

This survey is designed to provide a quick assessment of whether your child might have signs or symptoms related to disorders that could be classified under “autism.” However, no test is 100% accurate. No matter what your score is, you should seek help from a health professional if you have any concerns about your child’s well-being.


The questionnaire used here is the High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ).


This child stands out from other children of his/her age in the following ways:

1. is old-fashioned or precocious
2. is regarded as an ‘eccentric professor’ by the other children
3. lives somewhat in a world of his/her own with restricted idiosyncratic intellectual interests
4. accumulates facts on certain subjects (good rote memory) but does not really understand the meaning
5. has a literal understanding of ambiguous and metaphoric language (i.e. takes things literally; troubles understanding expressions or metaphors)
6. has a deviant style of communication with a formal, fussy, ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘robotlike’ language (i.e. talks differently than other children, in a formal or stilted way)
7. invents idiosyncratic words and expressions (i.e. makes up his or her own words, expressions or names for things)
8. has a different voice or speech
9. expresses sounds involuntarily; clears throat, grunts, smacks, cries or screams
10. is surprisingly good at some things and surprisingly poor at others
11. uses language freely but fails to make adjustments to fit social contexts or the needs of different listeners
12. lacks empathy (i.e. tends to see things only from his/her own perspective, and has troubles seeing things from other's perspective)
13. makes naïve and embarrassing remarks
14. has a deviant style of gaze (e.g. may range from not looking people in the eye, to the other extreme of staring directly at people to the point it makes them uncomfortable)
15. wishes to be sociable but fails to make relationships with peers
16. can be with other children but only on his/her terms
17. lacks best friend
18. lacks common sense
19. is poor at games; no idea of cooperating in a team, scores ‘own goals’
20. has clumsy, ill coordinated, ungainly, awkward movements or gestures
21. has involuntary face or body movements (i.e. any tics?)
22. has difficulties in completing simple daily activities because of compulsory repetition of certain actions or thoughts (i.e. any habits that s/he just has to do?)
23. has special routines; insists on no change (i.e. may need to have exactly the same change; troubles with even the slightest change in his/her environment, or routines or activities)
24. shows idiosyncratic attachment to objects (i.e. may get strangely attached to objects as if they were people)
25. is bullied by other children
26. has markedly unusual facial expression
27. has markedly unusual posture

The ASSQ was designed to assess children aged 7 to 16 years old with normal intelligence to mild mental retardation, and is a screening measure (not a diagnostic measure). Originally developed for Asperger Syndrome, it was later also found suitable for other conditions on the Autism Spectrum.


For more information:

  • Ehlers et. al. A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children. J Autism Dev Disord. 1999 Apr;29(2):129-41. PMID: 10382133
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