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Screening Tool: Autism spectrum disorder

The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test or CAST (formerly the “Childhood Asperger’s Syndrome Test”) is a parent questionnaire that assesses for symptoms of autism and social communication problems. The CAST was developed by the ARC (the Autism Research Centre) at the University of Cambridge, for assessing the severity of autism spectrum symptoms in children. It has proved to be a good test for screening autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and social communication problems. A positive test does not mean that the child has autism, however it does mean that it would be helpful to see a professional for further evaluation. 


1. Does s/he join in playing games with other children easily?
2. Does s/he come up to you spontaneously for a chat?
3. Was s/he speaking by 2 years old?
4. Does s/he enjoy sports?
5. Is it important to him/her to fit in with the peer group?
6. Does s/he appear to notice unusual details that others miss?
7. Does s/he tend to take things literally?
8. When s/he was 3 years old, did s/he spend a lot of time pretending (e.g., play-acting being a superhero, or holding teddy’s tea parties)?
9. Does s/he like to do things over and over again, in the same way all the time?
10. Does s/he find it easy to interact with other children?
11. Can s/he keep a two-way conversation going?
12. Can s/he read appropriately for his/her age?
13. Does s/he mostly have the same interests as his/her peers?
14. Does s/he have an interest which takes up so much time that s/he does little else?
15. Does s/he have friends, rather than just acquiantances?
16. Does s/he often bring you things s/he is interested in to show you?
17. Does s/he enjoy joking around?
18. Does s/he have difficulty understanding the rules for polite behaviour?
19. Does s/he appear to have an unusual memory for details?
20. Is his/her voice unusual (e.g., overly adult, flat, or very monotonous)?
21. Are people important to him/her?
22. Can s/he dress him/herself?
23. Is s/he good at turn-taking in conversation?
24. Does s/he play imaginatively with other children, and engage in role-play?
25. Does s/he often do or say things that are tactless or socially inappropriate?
26. Can s/he count to 50 without leaving out any numbers?
27. Does s/he make normal eye-contact?
28. Does s/he have any unusual and repetitive movements?
29. Is his/her social behaviour very one-sided and always on his/her own terms?
30. Does s/he sometimes say “you” or “s/he” when s/he means “I”?
31. Does s/he prefer imaginative activities such as play-acting or story-telling, rather than numbers or lists of facts?
32. Does s/he sometimes lose the listener because of not explaining what s/he is talking about?
33. Can s/he ride a bicycle (even if with stabilisers or training wheels)?
34. Can s/he ride a bicycle (even if with stabilisers or training wheels)?
35. Does s/he try to impose routines on him/herself, or on others, in such a way that it causes problems?
36. Does s/he care how s/he is perceived by the rest of the group?
37. Does s/he often turn conversations to his/her favourite subject rather than following what the other person wants to talk about?
38. Does s/he have odd or unusual phrases?
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