Autism awareness has never been higher. As a result, childhood diagnoses have increased exponentially. But what about those folks who grew up before this trend? What if today’s adults feel they are experiencing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Tests for ASD are generally designed for children but a qualified healthcare professional can perform an assessment on an adult.
This is a challenging process but in the hands of an experienced practitioner, it has been successful. While adult tests for ASD are in the works, for now, a major component of this process is self-reporting. Let’s start our discussion there.
What Red Flags Do You Regularly Notice?
These signs generally fall into the two broad categories listed below.
Social Interactions and Communication
- You misread the tone of a conversation leading you to make unusual word choices or speak too loudly
- When invited to a social event, you’re unable to discern what to wear or how to act
- You over-focus on topics that interest you but get bored and distracted in other conversations
- It feels tricky to figure out when to speak up, ask questions, remain silent, etc.
- Other people’s body language or sarcasm goes over your head
- If a scheduled plan changes, you experience a sense of panic
Sensory/Behavioral Symptoms That Appear to Be “Quirks”
- When you get upset, it can turn into a meltdown
- To calm yourself, you engage in movements or sounds that appear socially awkward or inappropriate
- Also to calm yourself, you may require physical pressure
- You’re sensitive to sensory input like sound, light, smell, taste, and touch
Your awareness of these red flags could merit you trying out an ASD self-test.
ASD Self-Screening For Adults
Common, widely-used self-tests are just a click away. Three assessments you might want to look up are:
- Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ-10): A popular choice due to it being only 10 questions long
- Adult Repetitive Behaviors Questionnaire-2 (RBQ-2A): A 20-item questionnaire commonly accepted as a highly effective screening tool for autism
- Adult Social Behavior Questionnaire (ASBQ): This one has 44 questions and can be especially useful when looking for mild ASD
These questionnaires cannot accurately diagnose anyone but they can go a long way in helping an adult decide if they should seek out an adult autism evaluation.
Getting Tested For Autism If You Are An Adult
The most accurate diagnosis for adults with ASD is one performed by a mental health professional. You will need to find someone with a very particular set of skills. They should be quite familiar with the process of diagnosing ASD. In addition, it would be ideal if you could find someone with solid experience working with adults with autism.
Such an examination will involve factors like:
- All of the above: Your personal observations are very much taken into account. This is combined with any self-screening questionnaires you may have completed.
- Clinical observations: The professional administering the evaluation will have many questions for you. They’ll also spend a good amount of time observing all aspects of your behavior, communication, coping mechanisms, and more.
If you end up being diagnosed with adult ASD, the interventions are not as extensive as they are for children. But support is available.
Why Get Tested?
If there are no highly reliable adult tests and you’ve made this far on your own, is it worth getting tested? One big advantage of doing so is peace of mind. You may have times when you feel like an outsider. It can be quite a relief to have a clinical explanation for these moments. Thus, if the above information resonates with you, I’d strongly suggest you reach out to learn more about ASD.