The ASDASQ was designed for use in a study of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in adult psychiatric out-patients (1), since no screening tool for ASD in this population existed.
Factors considered important for a usable screening questionnaire were that:
1) it should be brief and simple, allowing high compliance and response rates,
2) it must be appropriate for psychiatric staff members of different professional backgrounds,
3) the content should be concerned with the patient’s observable behaviour, not thoughts or feelings,
4) the items should be based on operationalised diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome and autism (and symptoms relating to these), and
5) it must have acceptable inter-rater and test-retest reliability.
The ASDASQ thus consists of nine symptom/impairment-orientated questions concerning diagnostic issues, plus one item relating to previous contact with child and adolescent psychiatric services. All items are of the ‘yes’/‘no’ variety, except the one relating to contact with child and adolescent psychiatry, for which a third alternative (‘not known’) is included.