When I first began to suspect that I fell somewhere on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, I immediately searched online for information, devouring everything I came across.
The first step in this whole process was to see if this neurotype even applied to me in the first place. Given that I didn’t know anyone else on the spectrum at that time, it would’ve been a futile exercise if I wasn’t on the spectrum myself.
I searched for terms like “asperger’s quiz” and “autism questionnaire”, and the search engines seemed to know exactly what I was talking about.
And they didn’t disappoint, either. Nor did they hold back.
In fact, the search results that popped up were almost overwhelming in themselves. Not only were there a few online screening tests, but there were also online questionnaires involving specific characteristics relating to the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, even if not specifically screening for the neurotype itself.
What I also found were some copy-cats – various websites that hosted their “own” versions of what essentially turned out to be the same quiz. When you’re frantically searching for unique information to add to your existing knowledge base, the last thing you want is carbon-copies of the same material, repackaged in a different-looking appearance.
To assist others on their self-discovery journeys, I’ve gathered various online questionnaires here, for easy reference. This list may not be complete, but these are all tools I have used.
Important note: the key word here is “tool”. It’s not a “diagnosis”, per se; most of the websites that host these quizzes include a disclaimer that says the screening is an informal one, and not intended to take the place of or be a substitute for a professional diagnosis, or something along those lines.
That being said, some of these online quizzes have been well-researched, with results supporting their accuracy and usefulness as a diagnostic tool, in a professional setting and within the context of other diagnostic methods (provider-client interviews and such).
As far as I know, all of these quizzes are:
- FREE (cost nothing) to take
- No strings attached – they don’t require you to create an account unless you want to (pertains to some sites only, not all)
The List of Quizzes so far (I might revise this from time to time, so please check this space periodically!)
The Autism and Asperger’s Quiz (AQ) – from PsychCentral – 50 questions. Gives a numerical score out of a possible 50. Apparently, the average neurotypical score is ~16.
The Ritvo Asperger’s Autism Diagnostic Scale Revised (RAADS-R) – from AspieTests – 80 questions. Gives a horizontal row of numerical scores, highlighting in yellow those that fall within Asperger’s/autistic territory. No scale, but does include comparisons between different neurotype-groups.
The RDOS – from RDOS.net – 121 questions. Gives the circular spectrum with the mapped polygon that visually indicates how neurodiverse/neurotypical you are in several categories. The site makes a detailed 11-page PDF file available for download for up to an hour after you’ve taken the test. Note: the landing page is a bit confusing at first; look for a button on the left-hand side, about half-way down the page, that says “I accept” (under “Go directly to test”).
The Systemizing Quotient (SQ) – from AspieTests – 75 questions. Gives a numerical score, without a scale, but does include comparisons between different neurotype-groups.
The Empathy Quotient (EQ) – from Psychology Tools – 60 questions. Gives a numerical score, on a scale of 80.
Online Alexithymia Questionnaire – from Alexithymia.us – 37 questions. Gives a numerical score, within the context of a three-tiered range.
In addition, the Autism Research Centre (ARC), has been the major site of development for many of these online questionnaires/screenings and the concepts on which they’re built. The link specifically points to their page with a comprehensive list of tests for people in various age groups, and with related or “co-morbid'” conditions, such as ADHD, dyslexia, etc.
Their tests are available for download, for either personal or research purposes, so long as they’re properly credited (as applicable in publishing research). Additionally, they also include the scoring keys, so that you can score your answers.
Where Many of These Quizzes/Questionnaires Came From:
It’s worth noting that the majority of these Asperger’s/autism spectrum quizzes are either the brainchild of research done by ARC researcher Simon Baren-Cohen, or largely influenced by his beliefs, which have come under fire as being fairly biased. Baren-Cohen holds some viewpoints that many people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum find questionable at best, and usually objectionable. The online quizzes themselves are blunt tools; they’re not infallible and they won’t pick up every “case”.
There is also freshly-emerging information that suggests that there may be several different subcategories or phenotypes (different visible expressions/presentations) of our neurotype, but the online quizzes for Asperger’s/autism only detect the earliest-discovered, more “textbook” type.
So, while these online quizzes serve a valuable purpose in providing an awesome starting point for many, please take these with a grain of salt.
Another important note: please know that I’m not insinuating that a professional diagnosis is absolutely necessary in order to identify as Asperger’s/autistic. I highly support the idea of self-assessment/self-identification for several reasons, especially once one has done some genuine internal reflection, remaining as objective as possible.
The first reason is, not everyone has access to–or funding for–services, and there’s a lot of denial and withholding of information going on among professional providers. The whole situation is much more of a mess than many realize, so please–show compassion and acceptance toward those who self-identify. Official diagnosis is a privilege.
The second reason is that obtaining an official diagnosis is also a potential liability for many; many undiagnosed Aspie/autistic people work in fields or live in families in which their livelihood or their family life might be stripped at any given moment.
According to knowledgeable contacts in the community, people have been denied entry to fields they would love to have been involved in, fired from jobs because they disclosed their status, been victimized/harassed, or even got denied custody of their children in the event of a death or divorce.
So, if you’re a parent, pilot (or aspiring pilot), a member of or wanting to enter another sensitive field, or your workplace doesn’t have specific training on autism acceptance and accommodations (not just “awareness”), think twice about getting an official diagnosis–or poo-pooing those who voluntarily choose not to–because there’s a lot more at stake than one may realize, depending on the laws/customs in a given region.
The third reason I wholly support self-identification/assessment is that I refuse to subscribe to the absurd idea that neurotypical observers are better assessors/judges of our character or guardians of our destiny, or that they somehow know us better than we know ourselves, and I refuse to grant them the monopoly on the gatekeeper position.
I also refuse to insinuate that their opinion as somehow superior to or more reliable/competent than our own. I accept that most of us are not formally-trained professionals, but let’s face it – we have participated in decades of experiential learning. 🙂
(Image Credit: Alena Velichko)