RAADS is a Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale. It is designed for adults in order to identify whether they are on the autism spectrum or not. It is specifically designed for adults who deny they may have it. It is a self-report questionnaire. It is valid and reliable. It is a very useful questionnaire.
When it was designed in 2008, there were 80 statements to fill. Nevertheless, in its revised version designed in 2011 and still in use today, there are 78 statements to fill by adults. It takes 10 to 30 minutes to fill. It is designed for adults who are older than 16. They need to be with subclinical autism or level 1 autism.
The RAADS test is available to find in many different languages. Since this translation is done through Google Translate, the reliability of translations other than the original language can be questioned a little. However, as of January 13, 2022, it is not possible to find the RAADS test on online platforms, it can only be given by professionals.
Even though RAADS is a self-report questionnaire, if the person is in need, a professional can help to fill the questionnaire. If the individual has difficulty understanding the question, a professional can assist in interpreting and understanding the questions.
RAADS was developed according to the definition of autism in DSM-5 and evaluates the individual’s language, social interaction, sensory, and motor developmental symptoms. It was prepared according to the 4-option Likert analysis. For each question, the individual is expected to choose only 1 of these 4 statements:
- True now and when I was young
- True now only
- True only when I was younger than 16
- Never true
* “When I was young” statement refers to younger than 17.
The Subscales of RAADS
There are 4 subscales to understand different developmental stages which are language, social relationships, sensory-motor, and circumscribed interests.
It consists of 7 statements. All of them focus on different points which are movie talk, small talk, and being literal. Movie talk means when they learn something as a word or phrase, it is quickly noticeable to their families and friends because of the fact that normally they tend to use the same words during daily lives. Small talk means that contrary to important and interesting topics to talks during daily conversations, they tend to talk about unimportant things and details. Being literal means that since the people on the autism spectrum are not able to understand what sarcasm means, they have trouble understanding the difference between what is said and what is meant.
Social Relationship Subscale
It consists of 39 statements. These statements focus on different points. It focuses on the problems experienced by individuals with autism. For example; Difficulties in understanding what others think, difficulties in understanding what others feel, lack of empathy, whether they prefer to be alone or to create common interests with others, whether they are perceived as “unusual” by society, waiting for their turn during daily conversations, not understanding that someone has an emotional approach towards oneself, having a tendency to talk to one person and about a single subject, difficulty in making friends, difficulty in maintaining a conversation, difficulty in adapting and imitating the people around and their behavior in order to adapt, and not being able to act as oneself.
It consists of 20 statements. These statements focus on different points. For Example; Having difficulty adjusting their voice levels when speaking, speaking very loudly or in a low voice that is too low to be heard, talking like a baby, talking with robotic voices, clumsiness, having problems with coordination and balance, having different pain thresholds than other people.
Circumscribed Interests Subscale
It consists of 14 statements that are focused on preferences for details, mood changes when unexpected events occur, and specific interests. Instead of seeing something as a whole, they tend to focus on details. Since they are very sticking to their routines, they will become very upset and stressed when someone changes their routines unexpectedly. They are very specific interests and love to talk about them constantly.
- I am a sympathetic person.
- I often use words and phrases from movies and television in conversations.
- I am often surprised when others tell me I have been rude.
- Sometimes I talk too loudly or too softly, and I am not aware of it.
- I often don’t know how to act in social situations.
- I can “put myself in other people’s shoes.”
- I have a hard time figuring out what some phrases mean, like “you are the apple of my eye.”
- I only like to talk to people who share my special interests.
- I focus on details rather than the overall idea.
- I always notice how food feels in my mouth. This is more important to me than how it tastes.
- I miss my best friends or family when we are apart for a long time.
- Sometimes I offend others by saying what I am thinking, even if I don’t mean to.
- I only like to think and talk about a few things that interest me.
- I’d rather go out to eat in a restaurant by myself than with someone I know.
- I cannot imagine what it would be like to be someone else.
- I have been told that I am clumsy or uncoordinated.
- Others consider me odd or different.
- I understand when friends need to be comforted.
- I am very sensitive to the way my clothes feel when I touch them. How they feel is more important to me than how they look.
- I like to copy the way certain people speak and act. It helps me appear more normal.
- It can be very intimidating for me to talk to more than one person at the same time.
- I have to “act normal” to please other people and make them like me.
- Meeting new people is usually easy for me.
- I get highly confused when someone interrupts me when I am talking about something I am very interested in.
- It is difficult for me to understand how other people are feeling when we are talking.
- I like having a conversation with several people; for instance, around a dinner table, at school, or at work.
- I take things too literally, so I often miss what people are trying to say.
- It is very difficult for me to understand when someone is embarrassed or jealous.
- Some ordinary textures that do not bother others feel very offensive when they touch my skin.
- I get extremely upset when the way I like to do things is suddenly changed.
- I have never wanted or needed to have what other people call an ’intimate relationship.’
- It is difficult for me to start and stop a conversation. I need to keep going until I am finished.
- I speak with a normal rhythm.
- The same sound, color, or texture can suddenly change from very sensitive to very dull.
- The phrase “I’ve got you under my skin” makes me uncomfortable.
- Sometimes the sound of a word or a high-pitched noise can be painful to my ears.
- I am an understanding type of person.
- I do not connect with characters in movies and cannot feel what they feel.
- I cannot tell when someone is flirting with me.
- I can see in my mind in exact detail things that I am interested in.
- I keep lists of things that interest me, even when they have no practical use (e.g. sports statistics, train schedules, calendar dates, historical facts, and dates).
- When I feel overwhelmed by my senses, I have to isolate myself to shut them down.
- I like to talk things over with my friends.
- I cannot tell if someone is interested or bored with what I am saying.
- It can be very hard to read someone’s face, hand, and body movements when they are talking.
- The same thing (like clothes or temperatures) can feel very different to me at different times.
- I feel very comfortable with dating or being in social situations with others.
- I try to be as helpful as I can when other people tell me their personal problems.
- I have been told that I have an unusual voice (e.g. flat, monotone, childish, or high-pitched).
- Sometimes a thought or a subject gets stuck in my mind and I have to talk about it even if no one is interested.
- I do certain things with my hands repeatedly (like flapping, twirling sticks or strings, waving things with my eyes).
- I have never been interested in what most of the people I know consider interesting.
- I am considered a compassionate type of person.
- I get along with other people by following a set of specific rules that help me look normal.
- It is very difficult for me to work and function in groups.
- When I am talking to someone, it is hard to change the subject. If the other person does so, I can get very upset and confused.
- Sometimes I have to cover my ears to block out painful noises (like vacuum cleaners or people talking too much or too loudly).
- I can chat and make small talk with people.
- Sometimes things that should feel painful are not (e.g. when I hurt myself or burn my hand on the stove).
- When talking to someone, I have a hard time telling when it is my turn to talk or to listen.
- I am considered a loner by those who know me best.
- I usually speak in a normal tone.
- I like things to be exactly the same day after day and even small changes in my routines upset me.
- How to make friends and socialize is a mystery to me.
- It calms me to spin around or rock in a chair when I am feeling stressed.
- The phrase, “He wears his heart on his sleeve,” does not make sense to me.
- If I am in a place where there are many smells, textures to feel, noises, or bright lights, I feel anxious or frightened.
- I can tell when someone says one thing but means something else.
- I like to be by myself as much as I can.
- I keep my thoughts stacked in my memory like they are on filing cards, and I pick out the ones I need by looking through the stack and finding the right one (or another unique way).
- The same sound sometimes seems very loud or very soft, even though I know it has not changed.
- I enjoy spending time eating and talking with my family and friends.
- I can’t tolerate things I dislike (like smells, textures, sounds, or colors).
- I don’t like to be hugged or held.
- When I go somewhere, I have to follow a familiar route or I can get very confused and upset.
- It is difficult to figure out what other people expect of me.
- I like to have close friends.
- People tell me that I give too much detail.
- I am often told that I ask embarrassing questions.
- I tend to point out other people’s mistakes.
For Further Diagnosis
There are some other tests and questionnaires advised to fill out in order to be sure about the results. Even though they are not as accurate as professionals’ observations, online autism tests are quite useful to discover themselves and understand the diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Quotient, CAT-Q, and Aspies Quiz are some of the most recommended ones to fill.
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