I’ve been taking aspie quizzes for almost 20 years now. Each time — yep, still on the spectrum. And that’s a bit surprising, because the questions asked didn’t always seem to have anything to do with me.
A little while back, I decided that because 1) the existing Asperger’s and Autistic self-assessment quizzes had too many gaps and conceptual flaws to be 100% useful to me, and 2) a number of very insightful women had come up with their own checklists, and 3) none of the women’s checklists were in an online quiz format that was widely distributed and could render neat results like the other quizzes.
Now, obviously, online self-assessments have their limits. I think it’s a stretch to expect any web-based tool to produce an accurate diagnostic profile of anyone.
But there are advantages to having them — for one, just seeing that you’re not out of your gourd, and that at lest one other person (the someone who put together the online test) has your unique personality “pinned”.
There’s nothing like ticking off a bunch of boxes, and then seeing that you score in a certain range. Especially if you’re an Aspie who likes quantifying things, charting things, measuring results, and comparing across a broader superset of criteria/traits.
So, the allure of the online self-assessment is indisputable for at least me. But the ones that have been available have seemed skewed towards a certain type of person — namely, the stereotypical young autistic white male. There are a number of items in there that I can’t relate to, and at the same time, there are a number of traits which crop up on women’s checklists (which again aren’t in a quiz format, and don’t score for you). I’ve heard other women say the same thing.
Thus, my ambition to create a quiz that’s for women — or at least a broader range of people who don’t necessarily relate to all the standard Autie-Boy criteria, but sure as sugar know they’re flappingly autistic / Aspergian.
I’ve been collecting lists of criteria from several sources — Tania Marshall’s site has a great list of criteria, as does Samantha Craft. I’ve also pulled in the RAADS-R and RAADS-14, along with the AQ test. I know that most of them are copyrighted, and my intention is not to infringe on anyone’s intellectual property. I just want to be thorough. And create a list for the rest of us — women and also other non-binary/gender non-conforming folks and/or men who feel under-represented by the handful of self-assessments that are out there.
So, I’ve got my work cut out for me.
And I am putting a different spin on things, as well.
I’m actually going to create a “profile builder”, which allows people to create a multi-dimensional profile of themselves relative to the autistic spectrum. It’s going to factor in early childhood, teen years, adulthood, and elder years. We go through so many variations in the course of our spectrum-dwelling, with some of our traits becoming more (or less) pronounced with puberty, and some things that were significant for us as young children going “dormant” during our teen and adult years, then cropping up later in life.
The other thing I want to capture, as well, is the degree to which the issues affected us. There’s the incidence rating — always, often, sometimes, rarely, never, n/a — and then there’s the severity (some might call it “valence” factor). In seeking to understand ourselves — and also explain ourselves to others — we need to not just say, “I have this going on with me,” but “This is REALLY going on with me, and it’s making my life very difficult,” or “This goes on with me, but it’s not that big of a deal — it’s just there.”
I firmly believe that as we are on a spectrum, we need to have more complex ways of identifying our issues, as well as communicating them to others. This tool isn’t going to be a substitute for official diagnosis, or a replacement for counseling or expert consulting. It’s simply a more robust way for us to assess our own situations on an ever-changing spectrum, within the context of the phases of our lives.
So far, I’ve collected a bunch of criteria, and I’ll be posting about it in the future. I’ll be lining up some web hosting goodness, and I’ll be proceeding slowly (but surely) over time. I’m planning to “chunk out” the work according to category — social, communication, self-care, physiology, neurology, sensory issues, strengths, unique talents, etc — and take it one group at a time.
Of course, I’ll be soliciting folks for input, to make sure I don’t omit anything glaring. And of course, I’ll be giving credit where credit is due, and linking back to sites / books / videos / other resources that can help shed light on these points. I’ll very likely alter the wording and change the concepts slightly, as I see things a little differently or from a slightly different angle — albeit very much in the same vein as the original traits and identifiers.
In the end, my hope is to create a more comprehensive tool that we can all use to better understand the many different facets of our Aspie / autistic selves, identify areas for improvement, identify our greatest strengths we can develop, and better articulate the parts of our lives we need a bit of extra help with. I especially hope it can help folks who are seeking help from psychotherapists / counselors to better communicate the true nature of their issues, so the right problem areas are addressed… and the providers don’t make assumptions based on bad information and pathologize (and then “treat”) things about us that are simply different cognitive modes, not signs of trauma/wounding that need to be dealt with in emotionally invasive ways.
We are so misunderstood, as it is. This is my bid to possibly help that happen less often — and spare our community some of the suffering we go through on a regular basis.
Stay tuned. I think this is going to be pretty cool.
And by all means, if you think of any traits that shouldn’t be missed, let me know.