Online Asperger's tests, Asperger's and Introversion

Page 1 of 1 [ 14 posts ] 

Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

25 Sep 2011, 1:46 pm

I have had a strange experience with online tests for Asperger's syndrome. As far as I can tell they test not so much for autism as for extreme introversion. I took one of the tests and answered positively all the questions which had to do with liking solitude and answered negatively the questions which had to do with extravert behaviour. I also said "Strongly agree" to things like focusing on a special area of interest ( for decades I have spent every minute I possibly could learning to reading new foreign languages, for no obvious reason), dislike of spontaneous change etc. The list could go on. The answers I gave were all true assessments to the best of my ability to self-evaluate. When I pressed the evaluate button it said "You probably have Asperger's". I then did another, longer online test for Asperger's and amassed an equally enormous number of points. So I started reading a book by a person with Asperger's (Nicole Schuster, Ein Tag mit Wirsing ist ein guter Tag), in order to see if this could possibly be a correct result. Within about 10 minutes it became clear that she had something utterly different to me which wasn't asked about in the tests at all, namely severe difficulty in processing sensory data in the ways normal peöple do. The book is really interesting but is talking about a completely different syndrome to mine, involving really pronounced perceptual idiosyncracies. So I looked up a questionnaire and forum about introversion. There I found that they were describing the problems I have always had, albeit I seem to be a more extreme case than most. I don't quite understand why the Asperger questionnaires don't ask about perceptual issues specific to autism. I would have thought it easy to do. As it stands they don't seem to be directed at the right phenomena at all but are almost a personality test, which means they pick up people like me too. What do others among you think about this? Or is extreme introversion part of the autism spectrum?
(For example, I attended a gathering of my partner's family today, because I had to. There were 6 of us and I've known them all for 9 years. They are all normal, friendly people. After a short while my head was a total chaos and I could hardly follow the conversation although it was only about things like the weather and where the child's teeshirt was bought. I felt totally out of my depth as I always do in such situations but sought to come out with a sentence now and then to show goodwill. This happens to me all the time at any form of social gathering or meeting, so something is wierd there, though I've just learned to accept it.) Do these tests really intend to identify cases like mine too or are they just badly designed?



Ettina
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,526

25 Sep 2011, 2:38 pm

Which tests did you take?

In my experience, some have a lot of cross-contamination with introversion, others do not. I can't judge regarding your statement unless I know which tests you're referring to.

I have seen a lot of questions about sensory issues on some AS questionnaires, such as the Ritvo Autism Asperger Syndrome Scale Revised and the Aspie-quiz.



btbnnyr
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 May 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,359
Location: Lost Angleles Carmen Santiago

25 Sep 2011, 2:47 pm

Your problems with smalltalk are extremely common amongst people on the spectrum. I have the same problems, and they are caused by not knowing the social script, or that there is one, and not picking up on the social cues dictating smooth flowing you talk I talk you say this I say that, and not switching attention fast enough amongst the smalltalk topics, and not hearing or understanding what people are saying due to auditory processing problems, and not being able to say things myself due to difficulties translating thoughts into words, even more so under pressure or when stressed out, and not knowing which things are appropriate to say to a specific person due to not getting a reading on that person due to not being able to use intuitive theory of mind in real-time, and also sensory overload caused by the physical environment, and also sensory overload caused by the people around me, and also brain shutdown caused by the sensory overload. Some combination of these factors may also cause your problems with smalltalk.

In a multiple-persons smalltalk Circle of Hell, it is common for me not to pick up on any social cues at all. And it does feel like you have described, "total chaos", followed by total blankness, when my brain has shut down for the duration of the social event. I have a feeling that introverts may not enjoy smalltalk, and they would consider it boring and pointless, but they would not describe it as a Circle of Hell. Some of them might get something out of it, like general readings of the people in the group. From personality forums, I have gathered that some introverts are good at reading people, so they would get that information, even if the smalltalk experience was exceedingly boring for them.

About the tests, I think you have a point that they may give high scores to people who are not autistic, but introverted. They do not really test for all the details of why the social interactions are dislikable, only that they are.



Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

25 Sep 2011, 3:04 pm

The tests in question were the AQ Autist Spectrum Quotient test and the Aspie Quiz.

(For some reason the software won't allow me to quote the question this is an answer to! The question was as to which tests I took.)



Sora
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,906
Location: Europe

25 Sep 2011, 3:24 pm

Just wanted to point out that I have an ASD but I also cannot relate to many things Nicole Schuster talks about in interviews and documentaries (I didn't read her book).


_________________
Autism + ADHD
______
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Terry Pratchett


Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

25 Sep 2011, 3:32 pm

In reply to btbnnyr: Thanks for your feedback. From your description I don't think I'm quite as challenged as you by social events but something fairly extreme goes on with me too. You seem to have much better insight into what goes on with you in such situations than I do into what goes on with me. I always assumed it was my fault in some way because there is usually an accompanying value judgement that the conversation/interaction is pointless rubbish (even though I don't want to feel that) while feeling at the same time that I couldn't do it even if I wanted to, which makes the value judgement redundant and gives me guilt feelings into the bargain. I get a disgusting feeling of physical nausea in my head which just evaporates when I'm back on my own or with just one other person. I have learnt over the years to bin the guilt feelings as soon as I'm out of the situation again because I know the whole horrible scenario just unfolds automatically without me being able to influence it at all. I think that if I met someone out of the blue on a one-to-one basis immediately after such an event I could relate to them perfectly OK, if extremely punch-drunk.



TPE2
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Oct 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,461

25 Sep 2011, 3:47 pm

Halligeninseln wrote:
I have had a strange experience with online tests for Asperger's syndrome. As far as I can tell they test not so much for autism as for extreme introversion. I took one of the tests and answered positively all the questions which had to do with liking solitude and answered negatively the questions which had to do with extravert behaviour.


Well, there is at least one study that shows a correlation of 0.44 between AQ and Introversion:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2004.04.022


Quote:
I also said "Strongly agree" to things like focusing on a special area of interest ( for decades I have spent every minute I possibly could learning to reading new foreign languages, for no obvious reason), dislike of spontaneous change etc. The list could go on.


Well, apparently it is not only the introversion that is producing your results.

Quote:
. So I started reading a book by a person with Asperger's (Nicole Schuster, Ein Tag mit Wirsing ist ein guter Tag), in order to see if this could possibly be a correct result. Within about 10 minutes it became clear that she had something utterly different to me which wasn't asked about in the tests at all, namely severe difficulty in processing sensory data in the ways normal peöple do. (...) I don't quite understand why the Asperger questionnaires don't ask about perceptual issues specific to autism. I would have thought it easy to do. As


Probably because the official dignostic criteria (ICD and DSM) for autism and AS don't make any reference of "perceptual issues". And this is probably because these criteria are designed for professional, not to self-diagnosis, then they only refer things that can be observed by an external observer.



EmiliaL
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 83
Location: ATL

25 Sep 2011, 4:20 pm

I took Aspie Quiz and scored NT.

Some of the questions there struck me as really weird in that all it might mean is you're introverted.

Do I like sports? NO....uh...so what? People of my personality type generally prefer a good game of chess. Or a good book. And don't generally enjoy typical parties.

Oh, the one I liked most was the one about whether you can pick out sounds. Yeah, I used to be able to do that. A funny thing -- anytime after you're 50 and you wake up one day and you can't do that anymore. That doesn't I'm not NT...it means I'm getting old. :lol:

I'm assuming whatever tools professionals use are more thorough than Aspie Quiz though.



icyfire4w5
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Sep 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 621

26 Sep 2011, 4:17 am

Um, I take most online tests with a pinch of salt... But true, I'm extremely introverted. :)



Verdandi
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Dec 2010
Age: 51
Gender: Female
Posts: 12,275
Location: University of California Sunnydale (fictional location - Real location Olympia, WA)

26 Sep 2011, 4:33 am

Aspie Quiz is actually somewhat accurate.

Halligeninseln,

I don't know what kind of perceptual issues Nicole Schuster describes, but I've seen people on this forum describe everything from mild hypersensitivity to outright sensory distortions (I tend toward hypersensitivity and mild distortions that get worse with a lot of overload). If you find noises bother you that don't seem to bother other people or bright lights bother you, or certain textures are difficult to tolerate, or certain smells are hard to tolerate, you might still have sensory issues.

Something else that might be worth looking into is non-verbal learning disorder (NVLD or NLD) - it features an overlap with autistic social difficulties but tends not to present with repetitive behaviors, special interests, or sensory issues. That is, if you think there's good reason to look into things.

Another thing you might look into is schizoid personality disorder, which involves extreme introversion, can involve focusing on certain interests, and so on.



Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

26 Sep 2011, 11:52 am

Thanks for your comments Verdandi. I still can't get the quote function to work so I'll do this without it.

As regards perceptual issues the only thing I can think of immediately is hypersensitivity to noise (not loud sounds as such though). For instance commuting by train is difficult without earplugs because I have to change my seat when anyone near me has a conversation, uses an mp3 player audibly or makes a phone call. If the same happens in the new seat I have to move again, as unobtrusively as possible because people have a right to make sounds in a train and don't have to maintain total silence just for the sake of people like me. At night I can't sleep if I hear noises. If I hear a motorbike revving up I feel instinctively aggressive ( I think that's the word for what I feel). That was one of the items on the test as I recall.

Regarding NVLD I'll check it out. It's the first time I've heard of it.

About Schizoid Personality Disorder, I don't think I have that (I very much hope I don't) because I am quite affectionate when in a relationship and like closeness as long as I can be alone a lot to focus on my special interest. My current partner has been with me for 9 years and I'd be really upset if we split up. In the past I really hated relationships ending and felt terrible for a long time, which I don't think schizoids do. On the other hand I'm probably most happy if I know can spend, say, 24 hours on my own doing my special interest. Fortunately I have been able to do this a lot over the last 10 years, so things are pretty ok. I have read some posts by schizoids on another forum and I have to admit I find them a bit creepy (sorry all schizoids). By contrast the people on this forum seem pretty friendly.



Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

26 Sep 2011, 12:22 pm

I just read on another thread about running water and stimming ( I'm still trying to work out what this concept actually includes). One thing I 've done my whole life is play with water. My father told me I was utterly obsessed by water as a child. Whenever I wash my hands or do the washing up my brain divides into several different parallel processing units and engages in a major technicolour game I invented as a child, involving feats of parallel short term memory which would probably be quite impressive to an outsider. That and similar phenomena always gave me the impression I was a closet autist and caused me to worry that I wasn't normal. I have never told anyone anyone about this (with one disastrous exception years ago). I suppose this forum is the right place to speak about it and ask for feedback. I think that at some stage I took most of the energy that went into this activity and channelled it into my special interest, because you can't spend your whole life playing with water but you can spend it learning to read languages. I still play with water and will do so for the rest of my life but it is kept within very strict boundaries. As a child I always wondered how I was going to integrate playing like that with adult life later. My partner hasn't noticed anything odd but says I'm like a Diva because I spend so long in the bathroom.



Verdandi
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Dec 2010
Age: 51
Gender: Female
Posts: 12,275
Location: University of California Sunnydale (fictional location - Real location Olympia, WA)

26 Sep 2011, 9:09 pm

Halligeninseln wrote:
Thanks for your comments Verdandi. I still can't get the quote function to work so I'll do this without it.

As regards perceptual issues the only thing I can think of immediately is hypersensitivity to noise (not loud sounds as such though). For instance commuting by train is difficult without earplugs because I have to change my seat when anyone near me has a conversation, uses an mp3 player audibly or makes a phone call. If the same happens in the new seat I have to move again, as unobtrusively as possible because people have a right to make sounds in a train and don't have to maintain total silence just for the sake of people like me. At night I can't sleep if I hear noises. If I hear a motorbike revving up I feel instinctively aggressive ( I think that's the word for what I feel). That was one of the items on the test as I recall.


The sound issues you describe are pretty common with autistic people (but not restricted to us).

Interesting you mention instinctively aggressive. Do you find that some noises create frustration and anger for you? Does this webpage have anything that rings a bell?

http://www.misophonia-uk.org/the-misoph ... scale.html

Quote:
Regarding NVLD I'll check it out. It's the first time I've heard of it.


It has a lot of overlap in social areas with autistic spectrum disorders, and among people diagnosed with AS, there's a high rate of comorbidity.

Quote:
About Schizoid Personality Disorder, I don't think I have that (I very much hope I don't) because I am quite affectionate when in a relationship and like closeness as long as I can be alone a lot to focus on my special interest. My current partner has been with me for 9 years and I'd be really upset if we split up. In the past I really hated relationships ending and felt terrible for a long time, which I don't think schizoids do. On the other hand I'm probably most happy if I know can spend, say, 24 hours on my own doing my special interest. Fortunately I have been able to do this a lot over the last 10 years, so things are pretty ok. I have read some posts by schizoids on another forum and I have to admit I find them a bit creepy (sorry all schizoids). By contrast the people on this forum seem pretty friendly.


Yeah, that doesn't sound particularly schizoid, but you sounded doubtful as to whether AS was the right fit, so I thought I'd put it out there for consideration.

I might qualify for an SPD diagnosis (excepting the fact that SPD is supposed to exclude an ASD diagnosis) but I'm not really concerned about it if so. I do think I like people more than SPD itself implies, though. I mean, I don't ever really feel "lonely" as such and don't get the idea of needing to be around people, but I also like to be around some people some of the time because I do like them. And I do appreciate the friends that I have.

I found stimming a hard concept to grasp at first because I stimmed all the time and didn't know I was stimming all the time. So I was looking at stimming as something I would consider unusual, and couldn't figure it out. I actually had to look up youtube videos and then realized I was constantly stimming. A lot of autism was like this for me early on - I didn't have the ability to compare my cognition to other people's and the way I am is normal to me, so I didn't think anything was unusual or stood out as different. I was, in fact, pretty oblivious.



Halligeninseln
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 382
Location: Central Europe

27 Sep 2011, 5:00 pm

Verdandi

About the misophonia: I didn't know there was a name for it! On the scale, I get up to level 5 and maybe when it's really bad I scrape a 6. I get up to level 4 or 5 every day in the train, unless I'm really lucky. The higher levels I don't know about because I don't get confrontational. That may be also because the people making the noise are within their rights in terms of the society at large and I realise that. I have the same problems if someone eats something smelly on the train, too, so it's not just sounds. Maybe there's a Greek word for that too!

The same as you I've in the past wondered if/assumed that I was schizoid and maybe classified myself as that unconsciously, along with feeling a bit autistic, but schizoid doesn't really seem to fit the bill either. The only thing I'm 100% sure of is that I'm not "normal". I don't think I'm that bad at social interaction if it doesn't go on too long (ie more than about 30 minutes maximum) and I'm not shy or anything but I try to get away from people as soon as possible even if the interaction is really pleasant and friendly. Just about everyone if asked about me would probably say "yes, he's a nice person, but he's not here much". I just seem to have this incredible drive to be alone and to do that you need to leave the person you're talking to. I'm not sure that just wanting to be alone is schizoid. What is the aloneness then filled with? Texts of all kinds in foreign languages, which function almost as meditation objects, and in fact for several years i just read incredibly empty and repetitive ancient Buddhist texts in Pali. It is not "normal" to flee other people in order read hypnotically vacant classical Indian texts for as many hours as one conceivably can. I also spent 2 years doing 32 hours a week (I timed it with a watch) reading nothing but Latin. Somehow I had and have a mini-job and even more remarkably a good relationship with my girlfriend. She thinks I'm a bit autistic but doesn't seem to mind. With her I can spend up to 24 hours without too much trouble, though I feel restless inside. We don't have any social life apart from occasional visits to/by close family. I asked her recently if she thinks I'm strange, to which she replied "then I'm strange , too". So I don't know.

One phenomenon which I think is more autistic-ish than schizoid is that before a social event I check with my partner how long we are going to stay. In the early days the time was open-ended but she realised what a torture that was for me so now we set a manageable limit. If the deal is from two to five pm I plan for that. Because it is invariably a group social situation I can't handle it at all and just sit there and try to not to look tormented. I hang on in there waiting for the end. If we stay over the appointed time, which we always do, I get into an hell of darkness and confusion and end up feeling really damaged.

This post is getting a bit long so I'll stop here.