How An Autism Quiz Or Test Can Help You Get Diagnosed
Updated July 10, 2019
An autism quiz is often utilized to screen for the condition and is usually in the form of a questionnaire. Although an autism diagnosis will always require an exam from a specialist, tests are available if you suspect that your child may have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are also variants that are available for adolescents and adults, which are typically self-administered. This article will discuss what these exams look for and why they are considered helpful, and for the most part, reliable.
What Does An Autism Questionnaire Measure?
Regardless of which one you choose, testing for autism usually consists of identifying and measuring certain traits by offering an assortment of questions. Some of the criteria of interest can include:
- Social Skills
- Behaviors (i.e., repeating actions or struggling to adapt to routines)
One of the most famous autism screening tools is the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire developed by Cambridge professor, Simon Baron-Cohen.
Cohen's test specifically screens for social skills, attention switching, attention to detail, communication, and imagination by administering 50 questions, all of which are scored on a 4-point rating scale, ranging from "definitely disagree" to "definitely agree." 
This test does not tell you where the individual's strengths or weaknesses lie in regards to each of these domains. Instead, a total score will be provided at the end, which may indicate that a visit to an autism specialist is recommended.
Similarly, yet different at the same time, the RBQ-2, which stands for Repetitive Behavior Questionnaire 2, is also graded on a point scale with a maximum possible score. However, unlike the AQ, this autism assessment measures four factors over 20 questions instead of 50: 
- Repetitive Motor Movements
- Rigidity/Adherence to Routine
- Preoccupation with Restricted Patterns of Interest
- Unusual Sensory Interest.
By looking at these two examples, you can see how these types of test can vary and look for slightly different domains, yet they still have similar goals and can be useful when initially going through the diagnostic process.
Why Are There Different Autism Assessment Options?
Aside from being interested in different parameters, an autism quiz can be catered to specific groups of people. Although children are most often tested, teenagers and adults can also be examined as well, but the testing methods and criteria may be slightly different.
For example, the very popular Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) exam discussed in the previous section was initially designed to be an adult autism test, but later versions have been adapted to service kids and adolescents.
The AQ test for children is intended to be taken by a parent and the authors tried to keep as close as possible to the original one, but revisions were necessary in order to keep it age-appropriate. 
On the other hand, the teenage autism test or AQ for Adolescents is identical to the adult version, but still requires parental assistance. This is because it has been found that adolescents score similar to adults.
There are also condensed versions of these tests that are solely designed to be a brief way to take them while retaining the same goals. Short examinations like the AQ-10, which is a ten question version of the original 50 one, has been used by frontline healthcare professionals to determine whether the patient should receive a full diagnostic assessment. 
Many tests have been designed exclusively for certain age groups and do not have variations such as the Checklist For Autism In Toddlers (CHAT). This one, in particular, is intended to be used at the 18-month checkup and primarily consists of questions regarding playing and pretending.
Currently, there are not any assessments that are specifically designed for the two biological sexes. This means that you will not come across a female autism test specifically. However, tests like the AQ have shown that there are differences between males and females. 
The adolescent version of the AQ has demonstrated that males have a tendency to score higher than females, and the same results occur in the AQ for adults as well. This is consistent with the findings that adolescents and adults score similarly.  
How Useful Are Tests For Autism? Are They Reputable?
Autism spectrum disorder testing and receiving a diagnosis as a whole can be time-consuming, and these tests offer a convenient way to get someone screened.
An online autism test can be done in the comfort of your own home and give you, your child, or another loved one a rough idea of where they stand based on their score. Keep in mind, though, this score is not the end-all-be-all and will require a formal assessment from a medical professional who has experience diagnosing autism.
Many people may use it as a way to self-diagnose, although they were never intended to be used for that purpose.
However, these tests are also used in clinics around the world, and as mentioned before, they can be used as a pre-screening tool that provides the doctor with helpful information. Therefore, taking one is being proactive. Unfortunately, an autism self-test can also be casually taken by many users in a similar manner as a personality test, which may cause people to wonder about their credibility.
Despite their widespread availability and the potential for misuse in the general public, these tests have been developed by many of the most respected scientists involved in autism research. Nonetheless, even though they are credible and frequently used by medical professionals, they can still be criticized but this can be used to improve future testing further.
For example, it has been pointed out that the AQ tests have too many similar questions that do not give enough unique information about the patient. Item 44's "I enjoy social occasions" and Item 47's "I enjoy meeting new people," is a perfect example of this and it creates redundancy. 
Regardless of this issue, taking a test for autism is still a reliable way to see whether further help is required.
How To Get Diagnosed
Getting diagnosed with autism is not as simple as taking an online autism test, and submitting the results as proof. It is much more involved than that, and it first starts with a doctor who knows how to test for autism.
However, these types of self-tests can still be helpful for the physician and may save some time. There is no blood test for autism, and instead, a doctor must look at the patient's behavior to come to a conclusion and make a diagnosis.
Diagnosing autism used to involve different kinds of outcomes such as Asperger's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but as of 2013 and the DSM-5, this is no longer the case and everything has been grouped into one category - autism spectrum disorder.
Although autism spectrum disorder testing is now categorized under one umbrella term, the condition can still be divided by levels of severity, and other specifiers can be present. For example, a patient diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder may primarily have social communication impairment requiring substantial support, but may not have any intellectual or language setbacks. 
Therefore, the condition is not one-size-fits-all and there is still a lot of variation within it and testing for autism and diagnosing it is still challenging, despite having the tools to identify ASD easier than in the past. This is especially true in those who have mild symptoms since they can get mistakenly labeled as social anxiety or a language disorder. 
Diagnosing will also frequently involve a physical exam to try to determine any secondary causes. ASD has been determined to be largely genetic and heritable, though other causes such as tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, phenylketonuria, and congenital infections may also play a role. These examinations will involve searching for signs for these conditions connected to "secondary" autism. 
Even though autism screening does have its challenges, getting diagnosed is the first step in getting the proper support that people with ASD need. By discussing with your doctor or perhaps searching for "autism testing near me" or similar queries, you will find a professional who can assist you.
Following diagnosis, treatment will be necessary, and since there is no medicinal cure for ASD, several types of therapies, namely behavioral interventions, are available such as ones intended to develop language and social skills and more. 
Additionally, at BetterHelp.com, online counseling is available to those who have a loved one struggling with ASD. Caring and providing support those with the condition is extremely challenging, and licensed professionals are available to answer your questions and provide advice to help you cope.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how an autism quiz or test can be very useful. Unfortunately, many people may search for things such as "am I autistic test" and take these assessments for entertainment purposes, leading to people questioning the materials' legitimacy.
Despite this, an official autism spectrum disorders test, like the AQ, can be trusted and can be a practical way to get initial information about someone who may have the condition.
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