(SRS™) Social Responsiveness Scale™

by John N. Constantino, MD

(SRS™) Social Responsiveness Scale™

by John N. Constantino, MD
Benefits Distinguishes autism spectrum conditions from other child psychiatric conditions by identifying presence and extent of autistic social impairment
Ages 4 to 18 years
Admin time 15–20 minutes
Format Parent and/or teacher rating scale
Norms Based on a sample of more than 1,600 children and separated by identity of rater (parent or teacher) and gender of child rated
Publish Date 2005
Qualifications Level C required.
About Qualification Levels
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About This Product

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This 65-item rating scale measures the severity of autism spectrum symptoms as they occur in natural social settings.  Completed by a parent or teacher in just 15 to 20 minutes, the SRS provides a clear picture of a child's social impairments, assessing social awareness, social information processing, capacity for reciprocal social communication, social anxiety/avoidance, and autistic preoccupations and traits. It is appropriate for use with children from 4 to 18 years of age.

Sensitive and reliable across a wide range of symptom severity, the SRS can be used as a screener in clinical or educational settings, an aid to clinical diagnosis, or a measure of response to intervention. SRS scores are particularly helpful in identifying Autism, Asperger's Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and Schizoid Personality Disorder of Childhood. In addition, the scale can alert clinicians to subthreshold autistic symptoms that may be relevant in evaluating children with a wide variety of psychological problems.

Severity of Social Impairment

The SRS has a major advantage over other instruments used to assess autism spectrum conditions. Rather than providing a "yes or no" decision about the presence of symptom or a given disorder, the SRS measures impairment on a quantitative scale across a wide range of severity--which is consistent with recent research indicating that autism is best conceptualized as a spectrum condition rather than an all-or-nothing diagnosis. This is important because even mild degrees of impairment can have significant adverse effects on social functioning. For the most common (and often the most subtle) autism spectrum conditions, no previous instrument has demonstrated the ability to reliably measure theseverity of social impairment.

A Quantitative Score That Allows Comparison Across Settings and Raters

The SRS is also helpful in qualifying a child for mental health or special education services. Diagnosing the milder autism spectrum conditions (including PDD-NOS, Asperger's Disorder, or higher functioning Autistic Disorder) can be difficult, particularly when information comes from different settings or sources. The SRS provides a quantitative score for autistic social impairment that allows comparisons across settings and against norms established with different raters. Mental health professionals who make diagnostic or screening decisions can use the score to achieve consensus about where a given child falls within the range of impairment encompassed by autism spectrum conditions.

Five Treatment Subscales

In addition to a Total Score reflecting severity of social deficits in the autism spectrum, the SRS generates scores for five Treatment Subscales: Receptive, Cognitive, Expressive, and Motivational aspects of social behavior, as well as Autistic Preoccupations. Although not used for screening or diagnosis, these subscale scores are useful in designing and evaluating treatment programs. Standardization is based on a sample of more than 1,600 children (4 through 18 years of age) from the general population. Norms are separated by rater (parent or teacher) and by gender of the child rated.

Useful in Clinical, Research, and Educational Settings 

The brevity of the SRS makes it highly useful for screening, special education, and clinical applications. Its quantitative nature makes it ideal for measuring response to intervention over time, and its reliance on naturalistic observations of parents and teachers makes it easy to use in clinical, research, and educational settings. It is crucial in such settings to distinguish the presence of autism spectrum conditions from other child psychiatric conditions, and the SRS is ideally suited for this purpose because it specifically captures the type of social impairment that is characteristic of autism spectrum conditions in children as young as 4 years of age.

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