The Full Spectrum: Are You Socially Awkard â€“ Or Is It Aspergers? An Online Test Lets You Find Out
The Full Spectrum focuses on the trials and tribulations of raising a child who ranks on the autism spectrum.
Ever since my oldest son S. was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, I have fancied myself a psychiatrist by default. With all the books I have read on the disorder, as well as the many therapists and other professionals I have worked with in this field, I sometimes believe I am qualified to make spectrum-related diagnosis.
Although I may be joking (kind of) about my qualifications, it is true that I am often diagnosing friends, family, friends of friends, friends of friends of family (you get the picture) with spectrum disorders. For example, when friends complain about husbands who are emotionally unavailable, I immediately ask a series of questions such as, â€œHow is his handwriting?â€ (fine motor challenges often go along with an Aspergers diagnosis). Or, â€œIs he sensitive to certain foods or touch?â€ (traits often found in people with spectrum disorders). By now, these friends know exactly where I am leading them with my interrogation and so theyâ€™ll declare that their hubby is â€œnot on the spectrum.â€ (So they think!).
Imagine my excitement when I discovered an online test that can â€œunofficiallyâ€ diagnose you with Aspergers Syndrome. The test was designed by Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin to Boratâ€™s Sasha Baron-Cohen) and asks a series of multiple choice questions such as, â€œI enjoy social occasionsâ€ and â€œI am a good diplomatâ€ that assess your level of empathy, social awkwardness, imagination, attention, sensory feelings and other symptoms associated with the syndrome. With 50 questions in total, all Â it takes is around two minutes to see if all your quirks add up to something official. How exciting! Of course, the site has a disclaimer that states you must consult with a medical professional for a true assessment. Guess Iâ€™m still in business, then.
Many of the syndromes or learning disabilities our kids are being diagnosed with today were not around, or not very commonly diagnosed, when we ourselves were children. Itâ€™s not that they didnâ€™t exist but rather the psychological community had not yet classified those particular set of character traits as a â€œdisorder.â€ This means there are many adults today who would be classified as having Aspergers or another ASD â€“ but they have no idea. They donâ€™t have an explanation for many of their challenges and struggles, which can be isolating and can lead to other challenges like depression. It is often through the diagnosis of their child that they start to put the pieces together for themselves. This new online test is a great way to start the process of understanding where you sit on the â€œspectrumâ€ of life.
Take the test and let me know what you think. Is it accurate? Were you surprised? Is this a dangerous tool?
(Photo: Andrea Chu)