August 22, 2019

Online autism assessments

Last updated on May 17, 2022

I am a Canadian psychotherapist, with a special interest in autism both on a professional and personal level, as I am autistic myself. You can find more information about me and my credentials here:

About me: Natalie Engelbrecht

And as it happens, I do both comprehensive in-person and online assessments for people who suspect they may be autistic. I also assess for ADHD, alexithymia, and Ehlers–Danlos syndromes in the autism assessment, since these conditions often co-occur with autism.


Assessments with consideration

Not every diagnostician is equally considerate of the experience of autistic people. But being autistic myself, I understand the challenges autistic people face when seeking a diagnosis. Here are a few things I consider:

  1. Not every autistic person feels comfortable going to an office, so an online assessment may be better suited for them.
  2. The way that I break up the assessment I think diminishes the overwhelm you might usually experience enduring the assessment process.
  3. Many autistics communicate better in written form, so I include that in the first part of the assessment.

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht in her psychotherapy office.


Assessments

As research shows we (autistic people) tend to have an intolerance of uncertainty, which is linked to anxiety and depression,[1]Relationships between autism spectrum disorder and intolerance of uncertainty[2]Brief Report: Inter-Relationship between Emotion Regulation, Intolerance of Uncertainty, Anxiety, and Depression in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder I think it’s important to let you know exactly what you can expect, so you don’t get (as) anxious when you step into the assessment process with me.

I offer autism assessments in two parts, starting with a screening assessment, which may be followed by a diagnosis.

Part 1: Screening assessment (CA$600)

An illustration of PM5544 (a common PAL test pattern) which is “screening” for autism.

  1. 12 questions to answer about your experience and history.
  2. 6 psychometrics: AQ, RAADS–R, CAT-Q, VIA, RBQ-2A, and the Aspie Quiz.
  3. A review of the submitted information.
  4. A report based on answers and psychometric scores.
  5. A recommendation on whether it makes sense to proceed with part 2.

Part 2: Diagnosis (CA$1,700)

An illustration of our diagnostic supercomputer, the Autism Elucidator.

  1. An additional 6 psychometrics: ASRS-v1.1, EQ, SQ–R, ESQ, TEQ, and the TAS-20.
  2. A 30–40 minutes interview via teleconference, based on the ADOS-2 (module 4).
  3. A review of the submitted information by myself as well as a medical doctor.
  4. A report based on your answers, psychometric scores, and the interview.

Note: if you want your assessment covered by health insurance, do check with your provider whether you can get an autism diagnosis by a Canadian psychotherapist and M.D. covered.


Online questionnaires

Online questionnaires like the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) can provide a starting place to consider whether you might be autistic. You can find more information and a link to the test in the post below.

Autism Spectrum Quotient

Alternatively, below you can find links to various other psychometric tests (and Martin and my test results), which can be used as screening tools. Do note that these tests are not intended to be used as diagnostic tools. However, they can indicate whether it’s likely that you are somewhere on the spectrum.

A diagram showing Natalie and Martin’s scores on various autism tests.

AQ-10AQAspie QuizRAADS–REQSQ–REQSQ

If you score below the threshold and you still think you may be autistic, do follow your intuition, and consider a formal assessment.

I recommend following your intuition on this for the following reasons:

  1. A certain percentage of autistic adults scored below the threshold of 26, despite having or qualifying for a diagnosis. So scoring below 26 does not necessarily rule out autism.
  2. Self-reported measures of autism are quite reliable (around 70–86% according to one study[3]Autism Spectrum Disorders and Self-reports: Testing Validity and Reliability Using the NEO-PI-R), and so self-assessments are taken seriously.
  3. We found that the wording of the questions on psychometric tests is often ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation by autistic people. Arguably they are written for autistic people, so if you get a low score on any of these tests, ironically it could mean that you interpreted the test in an autistic way, and thus a low score could hint at autism, rather than exclude it.
  4. Even if it turns out you are not autistic, the diagnostic process may be very helpful. Not only because autism can be ruled out, but you may have a condition related to autism, a condition with symptomatology that resembles or could be confused with autism (i.e. BPD), or a condition that often co-occurs with autism (i.e. ADHD and alexithymia).

Getting the right diagnosis—whether it’s autism or something else—is often crucial to understanding yourself and how you relate to the world, or to seeking out more focused help if needed.


Support groups

Another way people can gain information about whether they might be on the spectrum is via joining Facebook groups, where you can speak to other autistic people that can offer their experiences with autism, or with getting an autism diagnosis specifically. One Facebook group we recommend joining is our very own, the Embrace Autism Community. We focus on keeping the group safe and civil, and vet anyone who would like to join. Various people have indicated how much our group has helped them, so it might just offer the same to you.

NB: Research from 2018 by Deborah M. Ward et al. indicates that Facebook—unlike Twitter—can be highly conducive to the well-being of autistic people on account of the support groups.[4]Social Media Use and Happiness in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Quite a few members of our group—including ourselves—have indicated they use Facebook exclusively to interact in our group.


An illustration of a clipboard with a checklist or assessment.

When you are ready to pursue an autism assessment,
please contact me via the assessments page.

This article
was written by:
dr-natalie-engelbrecht
I’m a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, and a Canadian leader in trauma, PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research.And not only do I happen to be autistic, but my autism plays a significant role in who I am as a doctor and how I interact with and care for my patients and clients.

Disclaimer

Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.

Comments

Let us know what you think!

A hand pointing down (an index symbol).
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
51 Comments
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
51
0
We would love to hear your thoughts!x