Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire

Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire

The Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) is a brief screening tool designed to assist in the identification of individuals who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It consists of 27 questions that assess various behavioral and social characteristics commonly associated with ASD. The questions cover areas such as communication skills, social interactions, and repetitive behaviors. The ASSQ is typically used as an initial screening tool to identify individuals who may require further evaluation by a healthcare professional specializing in autism or developmental disorders. It is not a diagnostic tool but rather a screening instrument to help identify individuals who may need further assessment for ASD.

More About The ASSQ

The Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) is a screening tool developed by researchers Ehlers, Gillberg, and Wing in 1999. It consists of 27 items designed to help parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals identify behaviors and traits associated with ASD. The ASSQ is widely recognized for its efficiency and reliability in the initial screening process, making it an invaluable resource in the field of autism assessment.

Purpose of the ASSQ

The primary objectives of the ASSQ are:

  • Initial Screening: Provide a quick and reliable method to screen for ASD symptoms.
  • Early Identification: Help identify individuals who may benefit from further comprehensive diagnostic assessments.
  • Awareness: Assist parents, teachers, and clinicians in recognizing early signs of autism, thus promoting timely interventions.

Structure of the ASSQ

Structure of the ASSQ

The ASSQ consists of 27 questions, each rated on a three-point scale:

  • 0 = No
  • 1 = Somewhat
  • 2 = Yes

These questions cover a range of behaviors related to social interaction, communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. By summing the ratings for all 27 items, the total score indicates the likelihood of ASD, with higher scores suggesting a greater need for further evaluation.

Sample Questions

Here are a few examples of questions you might find on the ASSQ:

  • Does the individual have difficulty understanding social cues and norms?
  • Does the individual engage in repetitive movements or have an intense focus on specific topics?
  • Does the individual have trouble with changes in routine or transitions between activities?
  • Does the individual show a lack of interest in peers and prefer to be alone?

Scoring and Interpretation

The total score from the ASSQ helps determine whether further evaluation is necessary. While the exact threshold for further assessment can vary, a higher score typically indicates a higher likelihood of ASD. It’s important to remember that the ASSQ is a screening tool and not a diagnostic instrument. A comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional is essential for an accurate diagnosis.

Importance of Early Screening

Early identification of ASD is vital for accessing early intervention services, which can significantly improve developmental outcomes. The ASSQ helps in recognizing potential signs of autism early, facilitating timely referrals to specialists for a full diagnostic assessment. Early intervention can lead to better communication skills, improved social interactions, and enhanced quality of life for individuals with ASD.

Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire Summary

The Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire is a valuable tool for the early detection of ASD symptoms. By providing a structured method for recognizing behaviors associated with autism, the ASSQ plays a crucial role in the early identification and intervention process. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have ASD, completing the ASSQ can be a valuable first step in seeking professional evaluation and support.

At Nova Psychology, we are committed to providing the resources and support needed for individuals with ASD and their families. For more information and to explore our services, feel free to contact us or visit our website.


  • 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.
  • Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) – Website
  • Autism Speaks – Website

By understanding and utilizing tools like the ASSQ, we can work together to ensure early identification and support for individuals with ASD, fostering better outcomes and enhanced quality of life.  At Nova Psychology in South Edmonton your mental health and well-being are always our top priorities.