Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The symptoms of autism vary widely between people with ASD. The following are examples of some common symptoms that affect many ASD people, which can include but are not limited to:

  • aversions to certain foods
  • a single focused special interest
  • very rigid adherence to routines
  • “stimming” – repetitive and unusual behaviours such as hand-flapping, rapid blinking, rocking, tapping, etc.
  • challenging behaviours
  • avoidance of social interaction
  • inability to be tactful
  • lack of eye contact
  • literal thinking with the inability to discern lies or deceit
  • meltdowns – an intense response to overwhelming situations – becoming completely overwhelmed by their current situation and temporarily losing behavioural control

More information can be found at the National Autistic Society


There are three specific difficulties which must be present before Autism is diagnosed:

  • Difficulty with Social Communication
  • Difficulty with Social Imagination
  • Difficulty with Social Interaction

The following links are examples of tests psychologists use to determine if there is a requirement for testing for ASD:

The Q-CHAT questionnaire is a 25-item questionnaire designed to measure the severity of ASD in children aged 18 – 24 months. Early therapeutic interventions can help children with ASD live a higher quality of life and achieve major developmental milestones such as language development. The Q-CHAT scoring key is ranked from 0-100. The Autism Research Centre says the average score across the population is 27. For boys this is 28 and for girls this is 26. If you are concerned your child has autism then you should look for a score of anything above 39.

The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST)  is a 39-item, yes or no evaluation directed at parents. The questionnaire was developed by ARC (the Autism Research Centre) at the University of Cambridge, for assessing the severity of autism spectrum symptoms in children.

The Autism Spectrum Quotient Test (AQ) is a diagnostic questionnaire measuring the severity of Autism-Spectrum Disorders in adult individuals published in 2001 by Simon Barron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Cambridge Autism Research Centre.

The Empathy Quotient (EQ) is a 60-item questionnaire designed to measure empathy in adults. Developed by Simon Baron-Cohen at the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge.


Self administering tests and information

The Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) is a self-report measure of social camouflaging behaviours in adults. It may be used to identify autistic individuals who do not currently meet diagnostic criteria due to their ability to mask their autistic proclivities. It consists of 25 statements and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The Adult Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-2 (RBQ-2A) is a self-administered questionnaire that measures restricted and repetitive behaviours in adults. It consists of 20 statements and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The RBQ-2A tests one of the core diagnostic criteria for autism, restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs). These are behaviours such as repetitive movements; for example, rocking and hand-flapping, ritualistic behaviour, circumscribed interests, and sensory sensitivities.


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