The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), originally known as the Autism Quotient, was developed by Simon Baron-Cohen in 2001. This questionable ‘diagnostic’ test has the usual four, restrictive, options: from definitely agree to definitely disagree, you know the type: rigid in style, with no room for grey areas or the personal touch. The fifty questions were intended to be able to diagnose ‘high functioning‘ autism (known as Asperger’s at the time). In reality, the test is designed to diagnose all autistic people who don’t have a co-occurring learning disability.

You can take this test online very easily, but please treat the results lightly – this questionnaire is heavily flawed and makes many stereotypical assumptions about autistic people that have since been debunked. It is a quantitative form of assessment, in that the test is designed to produce a single figure by which to assess. Honestly, it’s so primitive, in my view, with mad options like ‘I would rather go to the theatre than to a museum’ – implying that autistic people couldn’t possibly enjoy the Arts! I cannot emphasise enough that this is NOT used to diagnose autistic people, that involves a series of in-depth interviews. However, there have been a number of studies that claim this is a valid and accurate measure. I’ll leave that one for you decide.

If and when you wish to be formally assessed for autism, you will be given detailed qualitative tests, in the form of one to one interviews, in a much more personalised manner – and there is plenty scope to talk. So, treat these tests as a bit of fun (?) and please don’t decide you are/are not autistic on the strength of them. If a high score gives you the confidence to go to the GP for further assessment, and formal assessment is your goal, then the test is worth taking.

This is the ten question version of the questionnaire – the AQ-10

This is the fifty question version of the questionnaire – the AQ50

Click here to go to the glossary entry for diagnostic criteria, for more information