What Is The Adult Asperger Assessment, And Where Can I Take It?
Updated February 05, 2020
Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault
Asperger syndrome is a subgroup on the autism spectrum and is more common today than it has been in the past. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one out of every 59 people have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Although it can affect anyone no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, it is most common in boys. In fact, males are four times more likely to be affected by Asperger syndrome than females.
Risk Factors Of Asperger Syndrome
The risk factors of Asperger syndrome include genetics, environmental issues, having a physical disorder such as down syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, being born to parents older than 40, and those who are born prematurely. Some clinicians also have found that if the mother smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, used drugs, or had a viral infection during pregnancy, the chances of the child having Asperger syndrome is higher.
Diagnosing Asperger Syndrome In Children
Most often, an Asperger diagnosis is made when the child is in preschool or kindergarten because it is then that the differences are noticed. A parent or guardian may not see the differences in their child, but when they start school, it may be obvious to the teacher and other students. Those with Asperger syndrome typically are socially awkward, have poor social skills, maybe clumsy or uncoordinated, have odd speech patterns, and may have repetitive behaviors such as counting or moving items.
Signs Of Adult Asperger Syndrome
If Asperger syndrome is not diagnosed early, it can go unnoticed until adulthood. In fact, adults with Asperger syndrome have different symptoms than children. Some of these symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to loud noises or the taste or texture of a certain food
- Focusing or obsessing over a certain topic and difficulty in letting it go
- The need for repetition and keeping things in a certain order
- Inability to have a successful or meaningful relationship
- Trouble keeping a job due to inability to communicate well
- A lack of social skills like talking about one thing and not noticing that others are not interested
- Getting upset if your schedule is disrupted
Mild Asperger Syndrome
It could be that you have a mild form of Asperger syndrome that does not manifest in the same way that the typical form would. It is sometimes referred to as high functioning autism, and although every person has their own set of individual signs and symptoms, the basic symptoms are similar to adult Asperger syndrome but in a much milder way. In fact, this is one of the reasons that Asperger syndrome is not found until adulthood. If the symptoms are mild, you may just have been seen as being quirky or having a unique personality when you were a child. But as you got older, you may have started realizing that you just felt "off" or different.
Trying To Fit In
If a child is not diagnosed but notices that they are different than the other children, they may start trying to adapt to fit in with everyone else, changing their habits and actions to be accepted. As they get older, it becomes more and more difficult to fit in, and the child may finally realize that they do not want to fit in or that it is just too difficult to keep pretending to be like everyone else. This can cause significant stress and may even manifest as an anxiety disorder or depression. For example, if you are anxious about being different when you are with others, you may start avoiding being with other people and develop a social anxiety disorder. Similarly, realizing that you do not "fit in" with everyone else or not being able to have a relationship can cause depression.
How To Tell If You Have Asperger Syndrome
So, how can you tell if you have Asperger syndrome? The diagnostic criteria for Asperger syndrome include:
- Impairment in social interaction by the inability to keep eye contact
- Failing to develop successful relationships
- Lack of emotion or social skills
- Not seeking to share interests or enjoyment with others
- Repetitive movements like flapping hands, biting nails, or rocking
- No clinically significant delay in language or cognitive development
There is also an extended criteria list for adults, including:
- Turning conversations to your specific topic of interest
- Speaking out without considering others' feelings
- Unable to recognize if the listener is bored or uninterested
- Including too much detail or specifics in everything
- Unable to sustain or initiate a normal conversation
Adult Asperger Assessment
The only way to get an official diagnosis is to see a professional mental health expert, but you can take an Asperger syndrome test or quiz online to see if you may need to get an official test. The adult Asperger assessment, or AAA, is an instrument that was made specifically for diagnosing Asperger syndrome in adults. There are two screening methods, which include the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ). The AQ test consists of five symptom areas, which include lack of imagination, communication, attention to detail, lapses in attention, and social skills.
The EQ is a test for empathy such as understanding other people's emotions or feelings. People with a lack of empathy have trouble making contact with potential partners or friends. People may see you as insensitive, unfeeling, or cold because you just cannot see how others are feeling or why they feel that way. Many adults with Asperger syndrome find that they can have a better relationship with people on the internet than in person. This is because the other person cannot see or hear the lack of emotion or feelings in your voice or attitude.
Physical Contact Aversion
This is not to say that you are an unfeeling or uncaring person, per se. In fact, most people with Asperger syndrome have feelings just like everyone else. They just do not recognize it in other people and do not show it as others do. Also, those with Asperger syndrome typically do not like physical contact as much as others do. They may have a lesser need for closeness or touching than the average person. In fact, they may even have an aversion to being touched. This is one of the clearest signs of Asperger syndrome that is typically overlooked because of the lack of relationships with others.
Where To Get the AAA Test
You can download various Asperger assessments and tests online, but they need to be completed by a mental health professional. While there are some online Asperger tests, they typically have very little merit in diagnosing Asperger syndrome. However, scoring high on one of these tests can give you the answers you need to get more answers. In other words, if you score high on an Asperger syndrome test, you will want to talk to a professional to take an official test.
However, many times a mental health professional will not just accept the answers from an assessment and will want to do neuropsychological testing by a psychiatrist or neuropsychologist. With these tests, the doctor will be able to tell if you have Asperger syndrome or some other issue with your central nervous system. They can tell if you have any kind of physical ailments that are causing these Asperger syndrome symptoms. You may not have Asperger syndrome at all; it may be an illness or impairment that can be fixed.
Talk To A Professional
If you believe that you have Asperger syndrome and want to find out for sure, the only way to be sure is to talk to a mental health professional. Sometimes they can tell right away and will be able to confirm your suspicions immediately, but often, it takes more than one appointment or talking to more than one professional to get a diagnosis. And once you get a diagnosis, then what? Some people just want that diagnosis so they can understand themselves better or explain yourself to others. Others want to get treatment right away.
Treating Asperger Syndrome
Treatment for Asperger syndrome depends on the severity of the condition and the age and incentive of the individual. It typically starts with therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This can be done right away, and if you choose to do it online, you can start today, no appointment needed. You do not even have to leave your house. There are many options online such as BetterHelp.com, which has over 2,000 mental health professionals available. These types of treatment can help you learn better ways to communicate by learning social skills, which will help in all aspects of your life from professional to personal.
Occupational therapy is also an option used in treating Asperger syndrome. This type of treatment involves learning new problem-solving skills, managing your home and money, and building confidence and self-esteem. This can also be done with online therapy. Also, you will learn new ways to navigate relationship issues and how to reach the goals and achievements you have in both work and home life. As a last resort, if your symptoms are severe and affect your daily life, medication can be given that helps you focus and can make it easier to handle most problems that arise. Contact one of the online therapists today to talk about getting assessed for Asperger Syndrome so you can understand what is going on.