The autism wheel is a graphic that what the autism spectrum looks like and what it represents. This wheel can be used to guide you or the people around you at many points. It will be very helpful in finding and providing the treatment and support needed. It will give you an idea in the first place in generating support and plans. It will allow you to review the intervention and support methods you have tried so far and to find new methods.
When it is time to talk about wheels, it is very easy to adapt any of them to any situation. It can be something emotional, it can be something verbal or it can be something social. Apart from having a wheel including all the symptoms of autism, it is highly possible to create a new one in order to show only one or a couple of characteristics. It completely depends on people on the spectrum or people who have someone on the autism spectrum around themselves. If you want to understand yourself or them, it is better to have a wheel to understand where they are on the spectrum.
Autism is a type of neurodiversity that includes observed declines in certain subjects and skills. Problems such as interest in certain subjects, difficulty in social interaction, sensory sensitivities, or repetitive movements may be observed. But they are not observed in the same way by every individual, and it is even impossible to observe them in the same way. For this reason, a set called “autism wheel” was created and attention was drawn to the diversity of individuals. Each major symptom on the wheel is shown in a different color and individuals on the autism spectrum take their place on this wheel according to the severity of the symptoms.
Autism has always been perceived as a spectrum, but not as it should be. Most people think of individuals with autism as a horizontal line running between low-functioning or high-functioning extremes. But this is not the case at all.
On the other hand, there is an understanding of neurodiversity that is becoming increasingly widespread and accepted in today’s world. This neurodiversity also represents the spectrum. It recognizes that while we are quite functional in some respects, we may not be functional at all in others. Each individual with autism can be mapped in different ways in Autism wheel charts.
No two people on the autism spectrum are alike at all, and no two individuals categorized as high-functioning or low-functioning are alike in any way. It is inevitable that they will have different struggles and different problems. Although both individuals have autism, the level of symptoms will be different.
Autism is sometimes referred to as a disorder in medical terms. This may give the impression that it can be healed. But it should be noted that autism itself is not a curable condition. Its symptoms can be treated up to a point, but the disorder itself does not go away completely. Therefore, each individual on the autism spectrum experiences their disorder in different ways and experiences their symptoms in different ways.
Thanks to this wheel, you will understand that the symptoms can be experienced in different ways and at different levels. One day, while experiencing all the symptoms of autism at the highest level, some days they may continue their lives as if they were neurotypical. It is also comforting for individuals on the spectrum to know that they will not experience fully 100% of their autism symptoms every day. And knowing that being on the autism spectrum is equivalent to being themselves is an invaluable feeling for them.
Although this wheel may not seem important, it is actually quite important. Accepting the spectrum as a horizontal line and trying to approach the individual with autism towards one of the two extremes is quite misleading in determining the location of individuals with autism. Because of the fact that the level of functionality is very essential and should never be overlooked. The level of functionality is unfortunately determined by how much social interaction an individual on the spectrum is in today’s conditions. And it certainly does not represent reality. In order not to offend people on the spectrum, it is a great opportunity to accept autism as a wheel with different conditions at different levels and colors.
Autism Spectrum Test
The autism spectrum encompasses neurodevelopmental disorders. There is considerable variation in the level, type, and severity of symptoms. This test, it makes easier to understand where the people with autism are on the spectrum. Since the spectrum is not a situation that changes in a straight line, it will have many variables. So, this is a test to measure the symptoms of the spectrum in 10 different areas. There are 4 options to choose from disagreeing to agree.
- Others have told me that I have problems managing my anger.
- I accumulate lots of facts on subjects and topics that interest me.
- Expressions like “raining cats and dogs” and “feeling like a million dollars” are confusing to me.
- I talk to my friends at a party the same way I would talk to my co-workers.
- I often rock myself or fiddle with my hands to feel better.
- Being away from home for extended periods of time frightens me.
- As a child, I would often repeat words or phrases that were said to me.
- When I am having a conversation with someone, I prefer to look at the wall, at their shoes, or somewhere other than into their eyes.
- I am almost always in the same neutral or flat mood.
- I hate the sound of fireworks, fire alarms, and/or thunder.
- I dislike talking to people I don’t know.
- I have a tendency to yell at people when I feel frustrated or stressed.
- Others have told me that I have repetitive bodily movements.
- I do not like going to loud places like malls, markets, and amusement parks.
- I get temper tantrums when others cannot reach me.
- Others have told me that I speak like a robot.
- I have never been good at sports.
- As a child, I put most of the pressure on the front of my feet when walking.
- People have told me that I can be obsessed with my interests.
- I often bump into things or trip over my own feet.
- I follow a set schedule closely and tend to avoid unfamiliar things.
- I almost always carry some special object in my purse or wallet that provides me with a sense of security, comfort, or control.
- I have certain routines or habits that I feel I must follow.
- When I get angry, I calm down faster than most people.
- I am rarely worried about anything.
- Even when I am paying attention in conversations, I do not necessarily look into the eyes of the speaker.
- It is hard for me to sit still without tapping or fidgeting.
- New social situations make me anxious.
- I am often beset by feelings of sadness.
- I sometimes have compulsive thoughts about being injured or having other bad things happen to me in extremely specific ways.
- I rarely experience happiness or joy.
- People sometimes tell me that I am being rude in conversations, even though I think I am being polite.
- When watching movies, I do not usually look at the eyes of the actors.
- I usually feel unhappy more days than not.
- I have trouble understanding what people mean when they say they feel happy for someone else.
- I have a tendency to hit or destroy things when I am angry or stressed.
- I prefer to do things on my own, rather than with others.
- It is stressful for me to have to retain eye contact with others.
- When I see a balloon, I worry that it might pop.
- I generally avoid eye contact with others.
- At parties or other social gatherings, I will usually stand in corners or close to a wall.
- I feel irritated and/or angry when I have to navigate uncertain situations.
- I cannot stand certain sounds, such as those made by vacuum cleaners, drums, and/or busy traffic.
- I am very sensitive to noise.
- I find it difficult to make decisions or act without guidance from others.
- People have told me that I make repetitive strange noises and/or repeat certain words out of context.
- I enjoy parties.
- Others say that I speak too loudly or too softly.
- I get obsessed with strings of numbers, such as dates or license plates.
- I have been described as having an unusual posture.
Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)
It is a questionnaire evaluated by individuals who are or think they are on the autism spectrum. It is designed according to subjective evaluations. Since it can produce answers about subjective expressions, a clear idea about its results cannot be produced. It is possible to give answers within 4 different options from definitely agree to definitely disagree.
- I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
- I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.
- If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.
- I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.
- I often notice small sounds when others do not.
- I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.
- Other people frequently tell me that what I have said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.
- When I am reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.
- I am fascinated by dates.
- In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people’s conversations.
- I find social situations easy.
- I tend to notice details that others do not.
- I would rather go to a library than to a party.
- I find making up stories easy.
- I find myself drawn more strongly to people than to things.
- I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can’t pursue them.
- I enjoy social chitchat.
- When I talk, it isn’t always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.
- I am fascinated by numbers.
- When I am reading a story, I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions.
- I don’t particularly enjoy reading fiction.
- I find it hard to make new friends.
- I notice patterns in things all the time.
- I would rather go to the theater than to a museum.
- It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.
- I frequently find that I don’t know how to keep a conversation going.
- I find it easy to “read between the lines” when someone is talking to me.
- I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than on the small details.
- I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.
- I don’t usually notice small changes in a situation or a person’s appearance.
- I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.
- I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.
- When I talk on the phone, I’m not sure when it’s my turn to speak.
- I enjoy doing things spontaneously.
- I am often the last to understand the point of a joke.
- I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.
- If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.
- I am good at social chitchat.
- People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.
- When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.
- I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g., types of cars, birds, trains, plants).
- I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.
- I like to carefully plan any activities I participate in.
- I enjoy social occasions.
- I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions.
- New situations make me anxious.
- I enjoy meeting new people.
- I am a good diplomat.
- I am not very good at remembering people’s dates of birth.
- I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.
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