Few instruments have been developed that measure impairments in reciprocity, a defining feature of autism. We introduce a new test assessing the quality of reciprocal behaviour: the interactive drawing test (IDT). Children and adolescents (n = 49) with and without high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD) were invited to collaborate with an experimenter in making a joint drawing. Within both groups the performance on collaborative reciprocity improved with age. However, compared to the control group, HFASD participants showed less collaborative and more basic reciprocal behaviour and preferred to draw their own objects. They were less tolerant of the experimenter's input as well. Performance on the IDT was independent of estimated verbal IQ. Reciprocal behaviour in self-initiated objects corresponded with more parental reported autistic traits, while reciprocal behaviour in other-initiated objects corresponded with less autistic traits. The findings of this study suggest that IDT is a promising instrument to assess reciprocity. © The Author(s) 2011.