Symptoms of autism in adults can differ from those in children, and many adults have unwittingly learned over the years to live with their symptoms. In most cases, autism is observed in childhood, usually after the age of 4, with a diagnosis of autism. However, some adults live with undiagnosed autism. Even people with more severe symptoms may not have been properly diagnosed.
There are not many tests to diagnose autism in adults, however, there is an online test to do by themselves. Questions should be answered by the people themselves. It is based on their own screening. Questions have 4 different answers which are definitely agreed, slightly agree, slightly disagree, and definitely disagree. These questions are;
- I prefer to do things on my own, rather than with other people.
- I prefer doing things the same way – for example, my morning routine or a trip to the supermarket.
- I find myself becoming strongly absorbed in something – even obsessional.
- I am very sensitive to noise and will wear earplugs or cover my ears in certain situations.
- Sometimes people say I am being rude, even though I think I am being polite.
- I find it easy to imagine what characters from a book might look like.
- I find it easy to talk in groups of people.
- I am more interested in finding out about ‘things’ than people themselves.
- I find numbers, dates, and strings of information fascinating.
- I prefer non-fiction books and films to fiction ones.
- I find it upsetting if my daily routine is upset or changed.
- It is difficult for me to understand other people’s facial expressions and body language.
- I don’t have any problems making small talk with new people.
- I notice very small changes in a person’s appearance.
- When I was young I used to play lots of ‘let’s pretend’ or imaginary games.
- I like collecting information about things I am interested in.
- I like meeting new people.
- People close to me say I talk about the same things repeatedly.
- I find it easy to work out what people are thinking or feeling just by looking at their facial expressions.
- New social situations make me feel anxious.
- It is important to me to carefully plan any activities I am going to do.
- I find it hard to work out what people’s intentions are.
- I would find it really hard to play imaginary games with children.
- I am a good diplomat and can help ease difficult social or work situations.
- I am often the last person to understand a joke.
- I like doing things spontaneously.
- If I am interrupted doing something I find it hard to get back to what I was doing beforehand.
- I notice patterns in things all the time.
- I have some very strong interests and get upset if I can’t pursue them.
- I can tell if someone I am talking to is getting bored.
The results will be indicated in a range. This range changes from no tendencies to strong likelihood. If you get:
- 0 – 7: no tendencies
- 8 – 12: common result
- 13 – 15: slight tendencies
- 16 – 19: borderline indication
- 20 – 30: strong likelihood
Apart from this test, there is another self-test that people who have doubts about having autism can answer themselves at home. It is a free test. It is adapted from ASSQ which is Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire. You need to keep n mind that it is not a clinical evaluation but at least, it gives an idea. These questions have 5 different answers which are very often, often, sometimes, rarely, and never. These questions are;
- Are you really (really) good at a skill like math or music, but struggle to succeed in other areas?
- Did bullies target you in grade school?
- Is your memory like a steel trap, even for facts that you don’t fully understand?
- Do you prefer to play individual games and sports like golf, where everyone works for themselves, instead of team sports and games where everyone works toward a common goal?
- Are expressions like “Curiosity killed the cat” or “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” odd to you?
- Do you talk to friends at a party the same way you would talk to co-workers in the office?
- Are you always the first one to notice when a friend has gotten a haircut or made a small change to their appearance?
- When you are having a conversation with someone, do you prefer to look at the wall, their shoes, or anywhere but directly into their eyes?
- Do you have trouble understanding what people mean when they say they feel embarrassed for someone else?
- Even when you are in a quiet place, like the library, do you find yourself making involuntary noises, like clearing your throat over and over?
- Have you always wanted a best friend, but never found one?
- Are you always bumping into things, or tripping over your own feet?
- Do your family members lovingly refer to you as the “eccentric professor” of the family?
- Do you enjoy inventing your own words and expressions that might seem quirky to others?
- Think about your daily routine. Would you say you follow the same schedule every day of the week, and do not like unexpected events?
- Do you prefer to read non-fiction over fiction books?
- Do people say that you speak like a robot?
The results will be indicated differently from person to person. On the other hand, overall the higher the point you get in total, the greater the likelihood that you show signs of autism spectrum disorder.
Being diagnosed with autism as an adult can provide relief, validation, and access to services for those who need it. As autism awareness increases, it should also be easier to find a doctor who can recognize the signs and symptoms and help the individual with autism find the right resources.
Diagnosing Asperger’s Syndrome in Adults
Currently, there is no scientific test that can test for autism, and there is no single specific test or technique that can diagnose Asperger’s syndrome in adults. At this point, it is imperative to meet with a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help determine if you have Asperger’s syndrome or another disorder. Social and physical problems, depression, and hyperactivity are important criteria for diagnosing Asperger’s syndrome. In addition to these, it is necessary to consider the typical traits of autism.
Adult Asperger’s Syndrome Tests
* Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale (RAADS): This test consists of 80 questions. It is a test that can help identify adults with general Asperger’s symptoms. Language, social interactions, sensory-motor skills, interests, and more are measured and analyzed.
* Asperger’s Quotient Test (AQT): This is a 50-question online test. It measures the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome in adults. It is not used to make a formal diagnosis. In general, it gives an idea to the specialist about the symptoms of Asperger’s or autism.
* Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI): This test is not an online or self-test, but a one-on-one interview with an expert. A psychologist or other professional will meet with the person with Asperger’s syndrome or autism to ask questions about language, communication, social interaction, interests, and other behaviors. It is a test that can be used not only in adults but also in children.
Autism Traits in Adults
Autism symptoms in adults are also similar to childhood autism symptoms. However, as an adult adapts to life in some way, it can be a confusing and challenging process to understand whether the behaviors are caused by autism.
The most severe and obvious trait of autism spectrum disorder in adults is that they are not able to perform Daily activities alone or without any help. They mostly need someone’s help and care. While some of the adults with autism can live with their families, some of them can continue their lives by living with other people with autism in nursery houses and controlled houses.
Most adults on the autism spectrum have trouble establishing, starting, forming, and maintaining a business. In order to avoid this problem, they do not tend to have social relations. One of the most important autism symptoms is that they do not have any idea about empathy. This naturally causes us to perceive individuals with autism as cold and distant. However, this is actually a trait of autism, not a personality trait.
In general, individuals with autism are obsessed with an object or situation. It is the same with adults with autism as well. They do not liken ay interruption or change about thier obsessions. When it is changed or disrupted in some way, an adult with autism may react upset or angry.
On the other hand, Asperger’s syndrome which is another type of autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed mostly after adolescence. The symptoms and traits of Asperger’s syndrome are less obvious compare to autism. Still, it is a lifelong condition. The difference between adults with Asperger’s and adults with autism is that adults with Asperger’s are more able to do everything by themselves and more successful. They are more aware of everything happening around them and they can give meaning to them.
Adults with Asperger’s syndrome may not want to live alone. Many of them get married or even have children. The distraction and focusing problem observed in general autism is observed in the opposite situation in adults with Asperger’s syndrome, that is, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome both have longer focusing times and are very attentive to details. These features cause them to be successful in their business life and have a career. They have a great tendency to advance in fields such as engineering, science, and technology which do not need human interaction.
John Doe spent most of his life trying to fit in with society. It was only when he was 49 that he understood why he was having such a hard time with this. When John was 49, he was diagnosed with autism and suddenly his whole life started to make sense.
He remembers not wanting to change schools when he was a kid. He thought the other kids at school wouldn’t want him, that they would find him awkward. He was very good with words, but he had no friends. He had no understanding of social communication. He lacked empathy. He grew over the years, and the years came when he had his own business, home, and children. His quirks and different thoughts in his mind also got bigger. He became more and more lonely and depressed. His deteriorating mood began to negatively affect his physical health.
Finally, his wife’s efforts of persuasion paid off and he met with a psychologist. John was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the end of this meeting. In an instant, he understood the reason for all his shortcomings. In his own words, he understood the reason for all his failures. John experienced great relief after receiving the diagnosis. For many years he had a final idea of what was making him feel like an alien, and he improved his quality of life through the treatments, medications, and therapies he received for the rest of his life.
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