Monday, October 25, 2010

The Autism Spectrum Test and other Diagnostic Tools

There is an autism spectrum test going around on the internet (especially Facebook). It is real. It is used clinically. If you score high, it does not mean you are autistic or there is something wrong with you. IT ALSO DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE TEST.

These tests are standardized, meaning they have tested them on thousands of people to establish a range of what is normal compared to those who they know have autism. It is not a joke. It is a tool. And tools are used for particular purposes. It does not mean it is a bad test when it is used outside the context it was designed for.

This is a screener, and it does a very good job of screening. It is meant to rule things out, not to diagnose. If you scored low on the test, it meant you had a lot of answers that fell into the Mildly Agree or Mildly Disagree categories. Guess what? A person firmly in the Autism Spectrum does NOT experience life that way. Either they are overstimulated or they are not, either they like you, or they don't, they can't just *kind of* not deal with change well, they just really DON'T deal with change well. Either a person picks up on another's emotional cues, or they REALLY don't.

So a counselor administers this test, and if the client scored low, they say "well, it's not autism." If the client scored higher, they say "lets look at this more." They might find that the client shows other signs of autism. They also might find that the client is an introverted person who operates more in his head than in his emotions and is rather most Lutherans are.

ANY test used for diagnosis should be used this way. Getting a certain score on a written test, unlike taking a test in school, does not mean you have something. It means it should simply be considered. You can still be quite healthy and normal and score fairly high on this test. It's simply that if you score low on this test, you do NOT have autism.

1 comment:

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