Taking the AQ-10

A few weeks ago I took the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test. In the comments on that post, Nat who you can find on Twitter at @quarridors, mentioned that there is shorter version–the AQ-10. This week for Take-a-Test Tuesday, I took the AQ-10. If you’ve taken both the AQ and the AQ-10, check out my note at the bottom of this post.

The AQ-10 is a condensed (10 question) version of the AQ test. It’s relatively new, and was developed based on a 2011 study involving 1000 people with ASD and 3000 neurotypical controls.

Though the AQ-10 is much shorter than the AQ, according to the 2011 study, it has a similar predictive power. There are some concerns about the AQ-10 study–like the original AQ study, it consisted almost entirely of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, making it hard to generalize the usefulness of the AQ or AQ-10 for autistic adults who aren’t aspies. There is also a gender disparity in the groups, with about 60% of the control group members being female and about 54% of the ASD group members being male.

The AQ-10 is used as a screening tool for adults in the UK, to identify people who may benefit from receiving a comprehensive autism assessment. The developers of the AQ-10 have emphasized the greater practicality of a 10-question screening test, which can easily be completed as part of typically brief primary care doctor visits.

Like the AQ, the questions on the AQ-10 are drawn equally (2 questions each) from five domains:

  • attention to detail
  • attention switching
  • communication
  • imagination
  • social

It’s interesting to note that the 10 questions with the best predictive value on the short versions of the AQ for adults, adolescents and children were all the same except for one. The developers of the test point to this as evidence that autistic traits are relatively stable across a person’s lifespan. Think about that for a moment.

Pros and Cons of the AQ-10

Pros:

  • Very brief (10 questions)
  • Clinically tested
  • Has similar predictive properties as the 50-item AQ
  • Adult and child versions are available

Cons:

  • Requires manual scoring
  • Limited number and type of questions
  • Lack of subscale scores

Taking the Test

You have to take this one the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper. You can find the test in PDF format here but for ease of use (and because there is no automated scoring version available online), I’m going to include the 10 questions in this post as well.

For each of the questions below, choose one of these answers: definitely agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, definitely disagree:

1. I often notice small sounds when others do not.

2. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details.

3. I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.

4. If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.

5. I find it easy to ‘read between the lines’ when someone is talking to me.

6. I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.

7. When I’m reading a story I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions.

8. I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g. types of car, types of bird, types of train, types of plant, etc).

9. I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.

10. I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions.

Don’t worry too much about the definitely or slightly designations. Scoring is based on whether you agree or disagree, not on how strongly you feel.

Scoring the Test

Use the following to score your answers (“definitely” or “slightly” get the same score so just focus on whether you agreed or disagreed for scoring purposes):

Question 1: agree=1 point, disagree=0 points
Question 2: agree=0 points, disagree=1 point
Question 3: agree=0, disagree=1
Question 4: agree=0, disagree=1
Question 5:agree=0, disagree=1
Question 6: agree=0, disagree=1
Question 7: agree=1, disagree=0
Question 8: agree=1, disagree=0
Question 9: agree=0, disagree=1
Question 10: agree=1, disagree=0

Phew! Okay, now you should have a number between 0 and 10. The cutoff score is 6. If you score 6 or higher, the doctor in the UK who administered this would then consider recommending you for a full autism evaluation.

One of the things I see over and over in the literature about the AQ is that patients should be referred for an evaluation if they score above the cutoff and are suffering some distress. So if you score above the cutoff and are not distressed by your symptoms, I guess you can go on your merry way.

I scored an 8 (which is very much in line with my 41/50 on the AQ).

The Bottom Line

This is a relatively new, self-report screening instrument.

If you took both the AQ and AQ-10 did you find that your scores were similar?* Did you score significantly higher (or lower) on one than the other? Did anyone score above the cutoff of 6 on the AQ-10 but below the cutoff of 32 on the AQ?

*A quick way to compare your scores is to convert them to a percentage. For example, I got 41/50 on the AQ, which is 82% (41 divided by 50 = .82). I got 8/10 on the AQ-10, which is 80%.

67 thoughts on “Taking the AQ-10”

  1. Thanks for the credit, you’ve done a brilliantly comprehensive write up 🙂

    I scored 31 on the full AQ-50 and 9 on the AQ-10. That means I was under the cut off of 32 on the 50 question version but scored extremely highly under the version with the ten most statistically significant questions. Comparing them by percentage, I was 62% on the full version, 90% on the reduced.

    I believe this is because I’m not much of an Asperger’s stereotype. I’m pretty extroverted and overly expressive. I think Simon Baron-Cohen’s theories of autism are very much based in the stereotypes and this skews the full version of the test. It seems that the research to find the ten questions that correlate best with diagnosis remove the questions that confirm Baron-Cohen’s biases but only correlate with one particular coping mechanism for growing up with autistic traits.

    I’m extroverted and I coped with my traits by masking them with humour, by mimicking the social patterns of others, escaping into fantasy and seeking out other people who socalised like me. This does not come across as having an ‘extreme male brain’ in the way that coping by focusing on logic and predictable systems, and tending to avoid socialising entirely would do (I think if you assessed me in my middle teens I’d probably fit this stereotype more closely because I had a much harder time finding people I fit in with back then).

    I think most specialists are moving away from seeing the autistic spectrum as being the coping mechanisms we adopt, rather than the underlying traits we all share. I think an increasing awareness of the different ways that girls and women tend to present their traits has helped in this. This change is going to be (and has been) gradual due to gender biases meaning that previously girls had to be an extreme version of the male stereotype in order to get by the biases of the assessors. I think this shows in the graphs on the original AQ-50 paper that shows women coming out as higher AQ than men on average (this will be especially skewed as it’s likely to have been Simon Baron-Cohen’s clinic assessing them).

    Thanks again for the great post, I’ll be very interested to see if there are other people with as big a difference as I have and whether they consider themselves to fit into the (old fashioned) Asperger’s stereotype or not.

    1. “It seems that the research to find the ten questions that correlate best with diagnosis remove the questions that confirm Baron-Cohen’s biases but only correlate with one particular coping mechanism for growing up with autistic traits.”

      This is a great summary of what’s likely going on. I had a lot of trouble with some of the questions on the AQ-10, feeling like I could go either way on them and like I didn’t completely understand what was being asked. The issue of gender-bias is a frustrating one, especially since Baron-Cohen’s lab essentially owns much of the evaluation/testing landscape, having developed so many of the commonly used tools.

      I can’t wait until we do the EQ. 🙂

      1. Having read Tony Attwood’s book talking about how many aspies escape into fantasy worlds and so love fiction, or become mimics, to the point that there’s significant numbers of us in the drama/acting community, Baron-Cohen’s questions about preferring non-fiction and disliking the theatre seem especially bizarre as diagnostic indicators.

        As does the idea that we’re all mathematicians or highly logical. I know there’s a significant minority who are highly spiritual and lots who are artists or musicians.

        This said my Asperger specialist clinical psychologist and the psychology students who volunteer at my local Aspie social group have all indicated that they consider Baron-Cohen’s theories to be something of a joke, taken much more seriously by the popular press than most specialists and researchers.

        1. I agree about the aversion to fiction. There are so many aspies/autistics who love to read, who participate in fandom, who are artists/actors/writers and who generally have very rich inner lives, that Baron-Cohen’s assertion that autistics have poor imaginations seems ridiculous.

  2. I got an 8/10 and my other score was a 34/50, so they’re fairly close. I love this blog, there’s so little info on aspie women.

    1. Hmm that’s 68% on the AQ-50 vs 80% on the AQ-10. I’d say that’s a big difference when the cut offs are 64% and 60% respectively.

  3. I had 72% on the AQ test, and 80% on the AQ10, so they are close but higher on the AQ10. But on both of them I’m insecure about some of my answers/defining the precise meaning the questions (as usual). Like: in some types of situations it would be ‘yes’, and in other ‘no’… so what is it most… That depends on a lot of factors, e.g. which type of situations I encounter most and how other people are. I suppose the questions are relative to others, again … so the scores might be inaccurate on both tests. (Sorry I know I’m complicating the question)

    1. Looks like quite a people scoring higher on the AQ-10.

      Complicating the question is a tradition here! I had the same struggles, even more so on the AQ-10 because it feels like each question carries a lot of weight.

      1. Interestingly I found that the AQ-10 had removed almost all the questions where I answered as ‘strongly’ in one direction or the other, so my gut feeling was that it was going to make me seem less autistic. I was amused to realise that the strength of agreement was irrelevant.

        1. I don’t get the point of having strongly/somewhat if there’s no impact for choosing one or the other. Perhaps it allows people to choose an answer that isn’t entirely conclusive (vs. what yes/no would allow). Still, I’d like to see strongly count for more.

  4. 40/50 (80%) on the AQ and an unexpected 10/10 (100%) on the AQ-10. I am not diagnosed.

    Thanks for your blog! Reading about your world helps me in trying to figure out who I am 🙂

  5. 42 (84%) on the AQ, 9 (90%) on the AQ-10. I also get the uncertainty on some questions where my instinctive response would be “it depends”; I tend to favour the answer that would have the higher frequency.

  6. I got 68% on the original AQ, 90% on the AQ10. I’m also undiagnosed and a woman. The discussion about Simon Baron-Cohen’s biases coming across in the AQ, including the under representation of female autistic folk, is really interesting by the way.

    1. That’s a fairly significant difference. I’m glad you liked the discussion of gender issues in Baron-Cohen’s work. When I start digging down into the data that deeply, I start wondering if anyone cares other than me and Nat. 🙂

  7. Hm. I scored 38/50 (76%) on the AQ, 9/10 (90%) on the AQ-10. (The only question who’s answer I disagreed with was the one about reading – that’s the one time I *can* interpret characters’ / people’s responses!

    😉 tagAught

  8. Great summary! Do you know if the AQ-10 can be used on individual who have a mild learning disability? I know NICE guidelines say not to in people with a moderate or severe but they say nothing about mild…any thoughts?

    1. First, let me reiterate that I’m not a doctor or clinician so my opinion is simply that. Take it with a grain of salt.

      Having said that, the AQ was validated in a group of adults with “IQ in the normal range”. The AQ-10 validation study makes no mention of IQ but it uses a subset questions from the AQ. I assume the NICE guidelines are basing their recommendation on the fact that the questions were tested on subjects with average IQ, making the findings of the validation study generalizable only to those with similar IQs (i.e. without an intellectual disability).

      Whether the AQ-10 can be reliable used to screen individuals with a minor learning disability would, I assume, depend on how well the person can understand the questions and their level of self-awareness. Honestly, I have an above average IQ and found many of the questions ambiguous and hard to answer. The Aspie Quiz, though it’s much longer and not “officially” recognized as a screening instrument, has more concretely worded questions and would probably be more appropriate for someone with a mild learning disability.

      And now I’m going to hope I haven’t seriously offended anyone, because this is somewhat outside out my comfort zone, but I did my best to come up with something helpful anyhow. 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for your comments! I’ll certainly have a look as the ‘Aspie Quiz’ and see how they go about phrasing the questions that make it more accessible to an LD population as many people who have ASD also have a LD – the two seem to go hand in hand for a lot of people. I agree that the AQ-10 feels to me a bit ambiguous in places and it seems off that its use metaphor (can you read between the lines) is off when we know this is something that many people with ASD can struggle with. I think really the AQ series is fine for measuring high functioning autism but it does very little to capture the full spectrum of the condition and this is reflected in the fact that it was normed iwth a population of 90% being high functioning.

        Thanks again for your comments!

        1. Just keep in mind that the aspie quiz hasn’t been clinically validated, although it has undergone many rounds of revisions and there are reams of data available about its development.

          Also, I think there’s a danger in conflating normal/high IQ with “high functioning” but that’s another conversation entirely. I do agree that the AQ instruments are very specifically focused on a particular presentation of ASD and with the AS diagnosis going away, perhaps they’ll be revised or replaced with something more broadly applicable to the wider spectrum.

  9. I have been doing some research on ASD to try to get a better handle on my son’s case. He was diagnosed at age 8 and all I was told was moderate on the ASD and they through him in some special programs. We have done all of the typical stuff, but as he is getting into his teens (14 now), his hormones seem to be making things a little more difficult and he is blossoming in some areas but regressing in others. I had him take both of the tests (I helped elaborate on some of the questions, but answers were all his and I do agree with them based on a mother’s observations). I would think that moderate would be somewhere in the middle, so I was expecting a score of around 37-40 or 6-7. Boy was I blown out of the water! He scored a 47 (94%) and a 10 (100%). So, my question would be, is it unheard of for someone on the spectrum to get worse over time? I was under the impression that as he got older, he wouldn’t necessarily get “better” because I don’t think he is sick, but that he would acquire more skills to better handle his situation, am I wrong? Does anyone have any ideas of any changes (light or not so drastic) that I could make to his routine that might help? Also, for all the other older teens out there that are dealing with this, how did you handle it in the beginning? Is there anything you would recommend to make his transition to young adult go any smoother?

    1. First, don’t panic. 🙂 He’s not actually getting worse, even though it may seem that way. I have two articles that I think will answer some of the questions you so I’ll post links to those first.

      Here’s one about autistic regression and what’s really going on when someone on the spectrum appears to suddenly be “more autistic” the way your son is: https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/12/19/autistic-regression-and-fluid-adaptation/

      And here’s one about how there isn’t really a middle or high or low end of the spectrum and how we all have our strong and weak areas which change over a lifetime and that’s perfectly normal: https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/06/26/decoding-the-high-functioning-label/

      Puberty is a really tough time to be autistic and he’s likely going to encounter a lot more difficulties as well as a lot of fast and unexpected growth in skills and coping mechanisms in the next few years–often at the same time. The best thing you can do for him is support in ways that he finds helpful. That might mean more structure or more alone time to recharge himself or some extra understanding when he’s having an especially hard day. Hopefully you’ll get some suggestions from folks here. Also, I definitely recommend keeping the lines of communication open with your son so he can let you know what kind of support he needs. Good luck with it and hang in there.

      1. Thank you very much! This helps a lot. It is hard being a single parent, it is hard being a single mother of a son (with no father around), and it is hard being a single mother of a son with Autism, but it is especially hard being all of those things at once! Thanks so much for the help!

        1. You sound like a good mom. The teenage years can be rough going for a parent. My daughter isn’t autistic but I swear she was replaced by an alien for about a year when she was 17. We talked about it recently (she’s 26) and she said she really had no idea what happened but she was surprised that so few asked her what was wrong or why she was behaving so out of character. She said she felt like everyone was just out to label her as being a problem and try to fix her, but no one seemed to care about what was really going on beneath all her anger and acting out. I wish I’d known that then but I don’t think she was in a place to articulate it until much later.

    2. Yeah, you do acquire more coping skills as you get older, but they don’t always keep pace with the increasing demands. Puberty is one of those times. The demands increase tenfold, while the explanations of why people act a certain way dry to a trickle. You’re suddenly supposed to figure it out all by yourself, and missteps are punished in the most severe way you can think of (because other teenagers don’t have a good grip on this “being social” thing yet either, so they are afraid of anything that breaks the mold).

      I think the best way to help him is to keep offering those explanations, both your own experiences and those of others. Don’t assume he knows why people act a certain way, and keep in mind that he probably has a really hard time asking for help. And never, ever, ever tell him that people act rude or unkind towards him because HE’s the one doing something wrong. Instead, tell him that bullies haven’t yet learned the lesson that this is not acceptable behaviour. The poor things.

      1. Thank you! Yes we have had the bully conversation over and over again for years! Mostly because he was diagnosed so late in life and spent the first couple years at school in the wrong programs. He is very aware of the fact that it is not his fault and other people are the ones who have the problems.

  10. I scored 9 (90%) om the short AQ and 30 (60%) om the full AQ so in the short AQ there is clearly an overweight in questions on such aspie-traits that I have.

  11. I scored 31 (62%) on the AQ-50 and 8 (80%) on the AQ-10. I am undiagnosed but have been wondering for years since I was a younger teen–I’m now 19.

    I felt some of the questions on the longer test were unusual, since like tagAught said, reading fictional books is one of the few times I do understand how others think and feel. It is also the reason why I prefer typed correspondence with my friends. I learned much about how people act in social situations from books and I learned how to navigate small talk with random-matching text-based chatsites.

    As well, I do not concentrate on numerical details (such as license plate numbers and dates), but I tend to notice and focus on other types of small details relating to patterns, facts, and stories.

    The discussion surrounding gender bias in the formation of Baron-Cohen’s test makes everything that much more confusing for me since that means I would be even more unsure if I were to think about getting a diagnosis, being female.

    The ten-question test was also difficult because it was hard to differentiate between my abilities versus the skills I have had to develop out of necessity. For example, I was unsure about questions 3 and 4 involving multi-tasking and interruptions, since I may not enjoy either, but I can perform more than one task and be interrupted since my job asks for it.

      1. Yes, I’ve tried it as well. A few months ago I scored about 160 out of 200, in the “You are very likely an Aspie” category.

        I have just taken again tonight, and scored 141 out of 200 for the Aspie score and 75 out of 200 for the neurotypical score. The biggest spikes in the detailed results graph were in perception, communication, and contact, which matches with the fact that those are the areas in which I have the most issues that hamper my daily functioning.

        I wonder if the Aspie Quiz results can be shown to the professional conducting my diagnostic assessment?

        1. The Aspie quiz has recently been revised so that might explain a change in your scores. I doubt the professionals would put much stock in the scores (though I think they’re more accurate than the AQ based on anecdotal evidence) but you could perhaps look at which areas you scored highest in and develop a list of traits to share at your assessment.

          1. Yes, I’ve started doing that already but looking into the areas that I scored highest in to help make my list more focused sounds good. Is there a way to show exactly which of my answers on the Aspie Quiz resulted in the particular score? I could not really tell which specific traits to highlight when making my list, other than the ones that I know severely hinder my daily functioning.

            Thank you so much for your advice so far!

  12. man, i got 39/50 and 9/10. i’m not sure that i would be able to get a diagnosis if i tried (insurance, resources, etc.), but i feel so much that saying “i have asperger’s” would explain a lot to people who may currently think i am making excuses for myself because i often have no idea what is going on. but, aside from not wanting to be treated poorly for being “disabled,” i also feel very uncomfortable saying, “i have asperger’s” without some sort of Institutional Heft. i don’t seem “austistic” at first or second glance, i’m sure. but i know i have asperger’s. i know it. i work in special ed, almost entirely with kids who have autism, and i feel like we speak the same language, even though most of them are non-verbal. i have struggled with milder versions of the same exact problems. but i’m a woman and i am not preoccupied with steamships or science-fiction series, and i am friendly, so…i can’t have asperger’s.

    1. Identifying as having Aspergers without a formal diagnosis is often referred to as self-diagnosing and people have varying degrees of comfort with it. It’s a really personal choice, I think, ultimately. If you’re really convinced that the label applies to you and you’ve done your homework, it’s okay to self-identify as being on the spectrum. Not everyone can afford or has access to formal diagnosis as an adult but that doesn’t make undiagnosed people not autistic. And I had the same doubts that you mention–not coming across as autistic at first glance, not having the stereotypical special interests I kept reading about, not being a total loner, etc. Fortunately I found a clinician who was familiar with how adult women typically present and was able to get past those stereotypes.

  13. I’ve read that some folks with Asperger’s have scored in the teens on the AQ50, what does that lead you to conclude about Reliability and Validity?

    1. Even in the original study there were some very low scores by people with a formal diagnosis, so I think it’s safe to say that neither the reliability or validity is especially high. And now I’m wanting to go back and look at the original study to see what they provided beyond the significance, in terms of statistical analysis.

  14. 22 on the full test, 4 on this one. I’m anti-social/shy/introverted and find patterns in numbers. My friends all score a lot lower. I think this is why even though I am not mathematical and can’t figure out JavaScript, let alone Java, I work well with engineers in a process management capacity. Any thoughts about those of us in the middle?

    1. It’s hard to say. Some people are introverted by nature while not autistic. Some are eccentric or anti-social due to life experiences or upbringing. Others are autistic but have developed so many coping strategies that it’s difficult to “see” many of their traits.

      Some people believe that there is the Broader Autism Phenotype, which focuses more on the social communication aspects of spectrum traits. I’m kind of on the fence about it but you might find it helpful to read more about.

  15. Total score Language Social relatedness Sensory/motor Circumscribed interests
    Test taken by you on 7 May 2014 82.0 8.0 54.0 9.0 11.0

    And again not neurotypical nor aspergers. I’m neuroweird. I don’t mind actually. I know I’m odd.

  16. I got a 32 on the AQ and 8 on the AQ-10.
    I remember reading about the AQ in Wired’s Geek Syndrome article, but didn’t take it back then. Baron-Cohen’s extreme male brain theory is frustrating, but this seems to be one of the most straightforward self-tests available. I don’t have a formal ASD diagnosis, but this makes me wonder if I should pursue this matter further.

    I began to suspect I was on the autism spectrum during the transition from DSM-IV to DSM-5, so I identified with the Asperger traits then. That was the semester after one of my supervisors (who does ASD evaluations for kids and teens) asked me if I thought I was on the spectrum. My campus-based therapist doesn’t do evaluations, but said she could refer me to university-based clinic that did.

  17. I scored 33 on the full test and just a 3 on this one, although a lot of the questions could go either way. I am undiagnosed, very introverted with social and generalized anxiety. I make weird faces a lot and am happy spending entire weekends reading, but I can’t really identify with “difficulty identifying faces” and can definitely read emotions on others. However, I am very empathetic to the moods of others and very anxious when I know people around me are angry or irritated.

  18. I did the AQ10 with my GP and scored 6/10, which didn’t track with the 42/50 I got on the AQ when I did that online. As a result of the AQ10 score, my GP could not get a referral for me to be assessed. However, on looking at what we did, I realise that he just wanted yes or no answers and that if it wasn’t strongly agree it was disagree (and vice versa) rather than slightly agree. Therefore I was scored wrong on some of the statements. I’ve now done it again online where it was scored properly and, along with another diagnostic tool (the RAADS-R), have delivered it to my doctor asking for a re-referral. Fingers crossed on this one.

  19. I scored 40 on the 50-question AQ, and 9 on the AQ-10. (The odd question out was the one about understanding fictional characters’ motivations – as someone else said, that’s the only time I really think I can!)

    I’m 23, female-socialised, and undiagnosed. I’ve had some suspicion I may have an ASD since I was fifteen and saw the term ‘Asperger’s’ for the first time. I’m thinking of looking into getting a diagnosis in large part because of the difficulties I’ve had with making the transition to post-college adulthood. It’s probably further complicated in my case by the fact that I almost certainly have a mood or other psychiatric disorder going on as well (for which I currently see someone).

  20. I scored 41 on the 40 questions, and 8 on the AQ 10. I’m 45 and my eldest daughter is 17 and receiving additional help for aspergers symptoms, undiagnosed at this stage. I always thought that I was different and had a tough time over the years, especially when I was a teenager. I found this site and feel at home, I can relate to most of the things posted on here. Feeling a little overwhelmed, shocked and also relief. Not sure what I do from here, many of my work colleagues have all said that they think I have ADHD. I looked into this, I don’t but feel I have aspergers it all adds up. I think the reason they feel I have ADHD is that I’m not good in meetings or when I have to work in large groups/offices. I’m constantly rocking or moving my legs or feet, or have to have something in my hands to play with. Is this normal for aspergers? IS this also a symptom? I also get annoyed in meetings if I feel that it isn’t relevant to me and do say or shout out inappropriate things at times. I can’t wait for things in work/meetings or especially in a shop I walk out if there is a queue. Just figured I was impatient!

  21. I scored a 9 out of 10 on this one and a 39 out of 50 on the original one. My mother told me she thought I had Asperger’s when I was younger but she never wanted to diagnose it or to tell me. Well, now I know why I didn’t have social skills or more than a handful of friends until I was 14…

  22. Thanks for this article.

    I’m currently very confused and can’t get the right advice… I know it’s a bit cheeky to lumber you with this but I was really interested to see if you had any suggestions?

    I have been diagnosed with three co-existing anxiety disorders that I suffer from in a very severe way, and have depression largely as a result. I can barely leave the house, look at or speak to people, etc. People flat-out avoid me because of how scared and awkward I come across. I can’t work or have real life friends or do much at all.

    I have constant extreme distress, and panic symptoms/sensory overload, but this is mainly when I’m around people. I think I had selective mutism as a child (I say think, because it wasn’t recognised or diagnosed, I was just seen as extremely shy). And so I wondered if these mental health problems developed as a result of autism. Several people online with autism suggested that I probably have it, after talking to me in depth about my experiences of the world from early childhood (the usual stuff: constantly feeling overwhelmed, feeling like a total alien, unable to make eye contact at all and problems with verbal comunication and connecting with people).

    My MH care co-ordinator eventually gave in and let me take the AQ-10. I scored 4/10 which obviously is not seen as cause for concern. I know that people extreme anxiety and aspergers/autism can present in similar ways but there seems to be more going on, and I don’t have a background of trauma in the commonly recognised sense (though school was geniunely day after day of pure hell) which seems to be very common in people as debilitated as me. I took the Baron-Cohen test a while back and only scored 23, I think. One thing I know is that I’m definitely wired differently to most people…

    Anyway, my point is…should I just accept that I don’t have it and move on? Even if I could hugely benefit from some aspects of the support available to people with an ASC, if I don’t score high enough of those tests…then I guess I’m delusional to push it further.

  23. I also have other possible signs (which aren’t necessarily a problem in themselves) like looking A LOT younger than my age – I’m 26 and mistaken for a 15-17 year old constantly, physical clumsiness, some difficulties retaining information and following verbal or written instructions – I’m much better with pictures) and constant fidgeting (stimming?) to manage constant feelings of tension.

  24. Interesting post. My scores were as follows: 26 on the AQ-50 (52%), 5 on the AQ-10 (50%). It seems that in my case, the scoring is highly consistent.

    Note that I am an introverted female with synesthesia and inattentive ADHD, and have never been formally assessed for ASD. I have wondered for years (even before ADHD was diagnosed) whether I was secretly an aspie – but perhaps being introverted and generally neurodivergent causes me to display aspie traits without actually having ASD.

  25. Hi, I took the AQ 10 test today at my doctors as I needed to take one before being referred. I had to fill it out while I was there though and scored 10 out of 10 but I think I put the wrong answer on 2 questions as I was stressed and felt rushed. I’m obsessive when I worry though and now all I can think is its going to go against mne for putting a wrong answer down.

  26. Hi just did the AQ 10 test at the doctors. I scored 10 but I felt stressed and rushed as I had to fill it out quickly. Now that i have had more time to think about it I think I should have scored an 8 instead which is still over the cut off but I get obsessive when I worry and now I’m panicking its going to go against me if I get referred and if they will question me on it.

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