Thursday 5 November 2015

Taking an 'Are you on the Autism Spectrum?' test

word autism

Every now and again, there is a test published to help the reader see if they might be on the autism spectrum.  Often they coincide with an article on the subject.  Last year published research showed that parents of autistic kids often have autistic traits too.  Most times that I see a test like the one in The Telegraph online yesterday, I can't help but fill it out or at least peruse the questions.

When our first child, Anthony was diagnosed with ASD aged 4, it was explained that 'genetics' could be one of the 'causes' of his condition.  When our second child David was also diagnosed before his 4th birthday, it seemed more probable. By this point we had gathered an in depth knowledge of different traits and how they displayed in our very different kids with ASD.  But we could also spot tendencies in ourselves.  Though mostly in jest 'focusing on the details are you sweetheart' or 'struggling a little with the change to your schedule honey?' So I was expecting to take the test and it put my husband or I slightly further up the potentially autistic scale than the 'average' person but not in the diagnosed range.  This was indeed the case but was not what I learned from the test.

I found that whilst I was answering the questions for me, I was also aware of the answer that would indicate autism; 'Do you find it difficult to picture characters from books'....tick, 'Are you good at remembering peoples birthdays?'...tick.  I was also pretty sure of the answer that would apply to our eldest autistic son, Anthony, and knew if I filled out the questions as him it would result in a high autism score. What I found more interesting though was that I thought Anthony might not fill in the questions how I expected.

Anthony's views of his own skills could well be different to my views of them.  Regarding the two points above about imagination and dates are two good examples. Having read hundreds of books with him, I know that Anthony relies a lot on the pictures to help him imagine the stories. However, he has recently started using images from the television to help him think about what characters might look like.  He may describe someone as looking like Superman or having weapons like a Jedi. Whereas I would still consider this imagination in picturing characters limited, Anthony would probably answer this question from his point of view - that he was very good at it.  Similarly, Anthony is good at remembering birthdays, but he doesn't remember everyone's birthday.  So whereas I'd answer the question very positively because he was good at this, Anthony would be less positive because he was good at it but not good enough.

Anthony's wonderful way of viewing the world and seeing it from his own perspective even relates to himself. This means he is able to enjoy his achievements such as expanding his relatively limited 'picturing' ability that seem small to other people.  It also continues to incentivise him to be better at things he is good at, possibly remembering everyone's birthday.  All in all I'm quite glad I looked through the test this time.

External Links
The Telegraph - Are you on the autistic spectrum - Take the test
NHS news - Parents of autistic kids have autistic traits too

1 comment:

  1. I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering
    that question. See the link below for more info.



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