Symptom Tests

Autism Test: Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults

Could I have autism? What does autism spectrum disorder look like in adults? How do I know if I am autistic? Take this free autism test for adults and share the instant results with a health professional for evaluation.

Am I Autistic? Adult Autism Test

Awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has grown dramatically, which reflects an increase in autism tests and diagnoses — and in a greater understanding that, even late in life, an autism diagnosis can offer major benefits and relief. Still, symptoms of autism are still frequently misdiagnosed as ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, OCD, and other related conditions, leading to poor support and lifelong challenges. As most research on autism has focused on young white boys, autistic women and individuals of color are more likely to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.1 2

Autistic adults may exhibit differences in social communication and interactions, and many report that they mask these differences to blend in. Repetitive patterns of behavior, obsessions (i.e., special interests), or activities are common. Insistence on routine and sameness is another typical manifestation of autism, along with sensory processing differences. Executive functioning challenges and emotional dysregulation have also been associated with autism.3 4

But as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) notes, “There is no one way to be autistic.” Traits, symptoms, and support needs vary among autistic individuals. Some may be non-speaking, for example, and others may have intellectual disabilities and other co-occurring conditions. The DSM-5-TR uses levels – from requiring support (level 1) to requiring very substantial support (level 3) – to distinguish support needs among autistic individuals.

There isn’t a single test for autism. Clinicians evaluate for autism through comprehensive and in-depth interviews and behavioral observations. Tools like the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS) are commonly used, but other instruments are available.

Answer the following questions and share your results with a licensed mental health provider who specializes in autism in adults.

This self-test was drafted by ADDitude editors and informed, in part, by criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) the RAADS-R, the CAT-Q, and the Autism Spectrum Quotient.5 6 7 This self-test is designed to screen for the possibility of autism spectrum disorder, and is intended for personal use only. This self-test is not a diagnostic tool.

When I become interested in something, my interest is often intense, strong, and deep.

Privately or not, I engage in repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand flapping, rocking, pacing, spinning) that help me calm down and/or self-regulate.

I have often been told that I’m rude or impolite – a comment that always catches me by surprise.

My sensory reactions seem extreme; I react strongly – or not at all – to sound, texture, smell, temperature, foods, and other forms of sensory input.

I notice patterns in things all the time.

I’m often unsure about which behaviors others expect from me and are considered appropriate for a given social situation.

I am often told that I’m clumsy or uncoordinated.

I prefer to do things on my own rather than with others.

Sometimes a thought or a subject gets stuck in my head, and I have to talk about it even if no one is interested.

I find changes to my routine, no matter how small – like taking a different route to school or work – stressful and frustrating, even distressing.

Social interactions are exhausting. I put a lot of effort into monitoring and following social conventions.

I have often been told that I have an unusual voice or cadence (e.g., flat, monotone, childish, high-pitched)

It’s often tricky for me to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their facial expressions.

I think a lot about my body language and facial expressions when interacting with people.

I really don’t like to stray from rules, set procedures, and the “correct” way of doing things.

I often zoom in on or focus intently on details and thus sometimes miss the “big picture.”

I feel I have to “act normal” to please other people and make them like me.

People often tell me that I give too much detail.

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Autism Test Next Steps: Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults

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1 Lockwood Estrin, G., Milner, V., Spain, D., Happé, F., & Colvert, E. (2021). Barriers to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis for Young Women and Girls: a Systematic Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 8(4), 454–470.

2 Malone, K. M., Pearson, J. N., Palazzo, K. N., Manns, L. D., Rivera, A. Q., & Mason Martin, D. L. (2022). The Scholarly Neglect of Black Autistic Adults in Autism Research. Autism in adulthood : challenges and management, 4(4), 271–280.

3 Conner, C. M., Golt, J., Shaffer, R., Righi, G., Siegel, M., & Mazefsky, C. A. (2021). Emotion Dysregulation is Substantially Elevated in Autism Compared to the General Population: Impact on Psychiatric Services. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 14(1), 169–181.

4 Johnston, K., Murray, K., Spain, D., Walker, I., & Russell, A. (2019). Executive Function: Cognition and Behaviour in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 49(10), 4181–4192.

5 Ritvo, R. A., Ritvo, E. R., Guthrie, D., Ritvo, M. J., Hufnagel, D. H., McMahon, W., Tonge, B., Mataix-Cols, D., Jassi, A., Attwood, T., & Eloff, J. (2011). The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R): a scale to assist the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in adults: an international validation study. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 41(8), 1076–1089.

6 Hull, L., Mandy, W., Lai, M. C., Baron-Cohen, S., Allison, C., Smith, P., & Petrides, K. V. (2019). Development and Validation of the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q). Journal of autism and developmental disorders49(3), 819–833.

7 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.