Gillian Autism Rating Scale-2 (GARS-2)

by James E. Gilliam

This revision of the popular Gilliam Autism Rating Scale is a norm-referenced instrument that assists teachers, parents, and clinicians in identifying and diagnosing autism in individuals aged 3 through 22 and in estimating the severity of the disorder. Using objective, frequency-based ratings, the GARS-2 can be individually administered in 5 to 10 minutes. The assessment consists of 42 clearly stated items describing the characteristic behaviors of persons with autism. The items are grouped into three subscales:

  • Stereotyped Behaviors
  • Communication
  • Social Interaction

New to the second edition is a structured interview form for gathering diagnostically important information from the child’s parents that replaces the Early Development subscale found in the original test. Additionally, a separate chapter is included in the test manual that provides multiple discreet target behaviors for each item on the GARS-2. The discreet behaviors are operationally defined and specific examples are given for research purposes.

The GARS-2 was normed on a representative sample of 1,107 persons with autism from 48 states within the United States. Demographic characteristics of the normative sample are keyed to the 2000 U.S. Census data. The GARS-2 has strong psychometric characteristics that were confirmed through studies of the test’s reliability and validity.

A separate booklet, Instructional Objectives for Children Who Have Autism, is included in the test kit and sold separately to assist in the formulation of instructional goals and objectives based on the results from the GARS-2 assessment. In this way, instruction can be directly related to assessment results from the GARS-2.

The new unlimited-use GARS-2 Software Scoring and Report System instantly completes all statistical analyses and presents an easy-to-interpret report that includes a graphical presentation of the data. In addition, the program automatically adds GARS-2 Instructional Objectives to the report based on the child’s areas of need.