Why are ONLINE screening tests for Asperger’s Syndrome so unreliable?

By JOHN COUNSEL

There’s an important clue in the name itself: Asperger’s Syndrome… “a syndrome is a group of symptoms which consistently occur together, or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.

There’s a variation on the old saying “if you’ve met one ————— you’ve met them all,” that applies to everyone on the Autism Spectrum, including Aspies… “If you’ve met one Aspie, you’ve met one Aspie!

And that, right there, is the problem with online tests for Asperger’s Syndrome: they’re basically one-size-fits-all in their approach, which simply doesn’t apply to anyone on the Autism Spectrum.

Accurate screening tests need to be administered, in person, by an experienced clinical psychologist

The most common initial screening test for Asperger’s Syndrome is a multi-part IQ test. The reason why it needs personal administration by a clinical psychologist is quite simple: the test outcomes are NOT just determined by what your answers are, but by HOW you answer those individual tests!

Another differentiation factor between Neurotypicals and Aspies in these screening tests is the pattern of individual test results. This diagram illustrates the kind of differences that are typical of Neurotypicals and Aspies… where NTs’ results are relatively even across the individual tests, for Aspies those results tend to be far more pronounced.

In the case of my own screening IQ test, I scored highest on a test that most Aspies score lowest on. As my psychologist explained all the different outcomes, he pointed out the anomaly — causing me to question whether the result cast doubt on the final assessment.

The test in question was made up of five separate tests, each one consisting of five individual story frames that made up a cogent sequence — which I had to choose.

As an experienced advertising Creative Director, storyboards for television commercials, etc, are very familiar to me. But I was unprepared for the sheer diversity of possible sequences — the permutations turned out to be quite subtle. I really had to think about each one clearly and intensely.

The psychologist asked me if I noticed what he was doing while I completed that particular test. I recalled that he was busy correcting papers from his psychology students at the university where he taught part-time.

He explained that he did that because, whereas most Aspies took an average of three minutes to complete all five sequences — and scored poorly — I had actually achieved a rare perfect score.

What made the result conclusive for him was the time it took me to achieve that perfect score… almost an HOUR!

See what I mean?

THIS is why these tests need to be administered in person by an experienced clinical psychologist!

©2002-2018 John Counsel. All rights reserved.

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