• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Asperger’s Syndrome in Adults: 4 Self-Diagnosing Tests

Many adults have been searching for answers their entire lives; answers to explain their differences, to explain what is “wrong” with them. Sometimes this search leads them to look at Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as, other Autism Spectrum Disorders. It can be extremely difficult for an adult with a suspicion that they indeed may be autistic to get a professional diagnosis. Professional diagnosis for adults are complicated, and often costly, but before you despair there are many questionnaires and “tests” that are readily available on the internet that can help you “self-diagnosis” your condition, and/or put your mind at ease.These tests are not meant to replace a professional diagnosis, or professional help in any way, but are a good starting point for your research and journey into the world of autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome.

1. Autism Quotient Test (AQ) test

The Autism Quotient Test (AQ) test was first published in 2001 by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge in the UK. Although not meant to be a diagnostic tool, it was designed to identify which adults, of average intelligence, displayed traits or symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. This test has become a popular tool for preliminary testing for self-diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome among adults. Due to the popularity of the AQ test, Simon Baron-Cohen subsequently published AQ tests for adolescents and for children. This test covers five main areas associated with the autism spectrum: social skills; communication skills; imagination; attention to detail; and attention switching/tolerance of change.

2. Empathy Quotient Test (EQ) test

The Empathy Quotient (EQ) test is also published by Simon Baron-Cohen and the Autism Research Centre (ARC). The EQ is designed to measure and adults emotional intelligence—in other words it measures how well you can understand the emotions and actions of others, and how well you empathize with them. Research has shown that this deficit in theory of mind is widely present in those with autism spectrum disorders and evidenced by lower scores on the Baron-Cohen EQ test.

3. The Systemizing Quotient (SQ) test

Baron-Cohen originally named The Systemizing Quotient (SQ) test the Male-brained test because it measures how the adult’s brain organizes and navigates systems and routines. It was thought that brains can be classified as male or female depending on how they function. The male brain is highly systematic, thus the name male-brained test, and the female brain highly empathetic. Those with autism spectrum disorders, however, whether male or female, tend to score high on the SQ test for systems and routines, and considerable lower on the EQ test for empathy.

4. The Aspie Quiz

The Aspie Quiz was developed based on statistical data gathered by RDOS from those on the autism spectrum. It is designed to evaluate autistic traits in adults by comparing this statistical data. It is a fun test with a great deal of information and detailed results; however, it has not been verified by any independent research studies. The Aspie Quiz should be used for your own self-understanding, research, and enjoyment.

Keep in mind that these tests are not a substitution for a professional diagnosis, but just a fun place to start your research and see if you may have an autism spectrum disorder. If pursuing a formal diagnosis taking your Cohen-Barron results to your healthcare provider may give you and him a good starting point to begin a formal evaluation. The AQ, EQ, and SQ tests, along with several others with score keys can be downloaded from the Autism Research Centre’s (ARC) website.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.