Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

Here at NovoPsych we’ve just added a new assessment to the test library to assist in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  While the prevalence of ASD is only 0.7% in the community, among patients presenting for mental health services the prevalence is 10 times that (7.8%, Fraser et al, 2011). This statistic shows how important it is to consider Autism in general mental health settings. We hope the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and NovoPsych’s advanced metrics helps with screening and diagnosis.

Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

The AQ is designed for adults and adolescents aged 16 years and over with normal intellectual functioning to screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder (Ehlers et al, 1999). The AQ is intended to make up a component of a thorough diagnostic assessment.  It measures five symptom clusters important in understanding the profile of strengths and weaknesses for individuals with Autism:
– social skill deficits 
– attention switching problems
– attention to detail
– communication difficulties
– imagination deficits

Here is an example of the 50 self-report questions
 
 
When administered through NovoPsych, scores will be automatically calculated and graphed, including enhanced metrics. Data for gender related norms are provided as a percentile rank, with a diagnostic cut-off score included (Baron-Cohen et al., 2001).

The sample results below shows a respondent’s percentiles compared to people who have been diagnosed with ASD. This individual’s Total AQ percentile score is about 50, indicating that their scores are typical of someone with ASD. Higher scores on each sub-scale indicate more neurodivergence.  For example, compared to others with ASD, these scores show few problems in Imagination (a percentile of 5 means they have less problems with imagination than 95% of people with ASD.)  On the other hand, scores show a percentile of 90 on Attention to Details, indicating significant neurodivergence in that area.
 
 
 We hope you find the AQ useful with your adult clients. If you’re seeking to do an initial ASD screener with children, NovoPsych also includes the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ), which can be used with children as young as 6.

To start using the AQ, we’d recommend practicing by logging into your NovoPsych account and administering the assessment to a dummy client. 
 
References:

Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 31(1), 5-17.

Ehlers, S., Gillberg, C., & Wing, L. (1999). A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 29(2), 129-141.

Fraser, R., Angus, B., Cotton, S., Gentle, E., Allott, K., & Thompson, A. (2011). Prevalence of autism spectrum conditions in a youth mental health service. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry45(5), 426-426.