The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R) is a self-report questionnaire designed to identify adult autistics who “escape diagnosis” due to a subclinical level presentation.
- Statements: 80
- Duration: 10–30 minutes
- Type: screening tool
- Authors: Riva Ariella Ritvo et al.
- Publishing year: 2011
- Seminal paper: Ritvo et al. (2011)
Note: the original RAADS was published in 2008. You can find the paper here: Ritvo et al. (2008)
Take the test here:
Who the test is designed for
- Adults (age 16+) with ASD level 1 or subclinical autism.
- Adults with IQ in the normal range (IQ >=80).A Scale to Assist the Diagnosis of Autism and Asperger’s Disorder in Adults (RAADS): A Pilot Study (Ritvo et al., 2008)
Versions & translations
- The RAADS-R has been translated into Swedish.
- The RAADS-R is also available in most languages through Google Translate.
Taking the test
The RAADS-R is a self-report instrument. However, the authors mention that a clinician might help a participant interpret items if they have difficulty understanding the question.
The test assesses developmental symptoms correlating with the three DSM-5 diagnostic categories (Social Relatedness, Language, Sensory-Motor) as well as a fourth sub-scale, Circumscribed Interests. It consists of 80 statements, giving you 4 choices for each statement:
- True now and when I was young
- True now only
- True only when I was younger than 16
- Never true
If you decide to take the test, please consider the Discussion section below.
- Scoring range: 0–240
- Threshold score: 65
- 65+ you are likely autistic (no neurotypical scored above 64 in the research)
- <65 you are likely not autistic (97% chance of not being autistic)
You can take the test using two methods:
- Paper-based if you want documentation of your answers (does not include a scoring key)
The scoring of most of the statements (63) is as follows:
- True now and when I was young (3 points)
- True now only (2 points)
- True only when I was younger than 16 (1 point)
- Never true (0 points)
However, the point value is reversed for the 17 so-called normative questions: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 (Ritvo et al., 2011)
- True now and when I was young (0 points)
- True now only (1 point)
- True only when I was younger than 16 (2 points)
- Never true (3 points)
Below you can see an example of the first 3 questions, the first of which (denoted by an asterisk) is normative and thus has reversed scoring.
The Language Subscore is made up of 7 questions. The focus of these questions is on:
- Movie Talk: friends notice you’ve heard something new because you start using the word or phrase regularly
- Small talk: a light conversation about unimportant things that people make during social interactions—instead of topics that are actually interesting and fun to talk about
- Being literal: having challenges when ‘what is said’ language does not match ‘what is meant’ language
The circumscribed subscore is made up of 14 Questions. The focus of these questions is on:
- Details Preference: focuses on details before the big picture, but can do both
- Upset when the unexpected occurs: a dislike of someone changing your routine—this does not mean that you stick to your own routine, just that you dislike someone else changing YOUR routine.
- Special interests: Speaking about them, having them…
The social relatedness subscore is made up of 39 Questions. The focus of these questions is on:
- Mentalizing: Challenges with understanding what others are thinking or feeling.
- Preferring to be with people with whom you share interests
- Being considered ‘different’
- Bluntness: being called rude; or that you have asked embarrassing questions; or pointed out when others have made an error
- Challenges knowing when it is your turn to talk: in a conversation or on the phone
- Difficulty knowing when a person is flirting with you
- Challenges talking with several people at the same time
- Not missing people when they’re absent
- Challenges making or keeping friends
- Challenges understanding body language
- Mimicking: copying others behaviour to fit in
- Camouflaging: hiding your automatic behaviours to fit in with others
The sensory-motor subscore is made up of 20 Questions. The focus of these questions is on:
- Voice volume challenges
- Voice differences: speaking monotone, like a child, or in silly voices
- Sensory: Sensory stimulation that doesn’t bother others can be painful and overwhelming. The experience can differ significantly at various times or be context-dependent. You may get anxious when overstimulated.
- The RAADS-R is a reliable instrument to assist the diagnosis of autistic adults.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 (Ritvo et al., 2011)
- No neurotypical who took the test scored above the ASD threshold.
- Only 3% of the autistic group did not score over 65.
- Test-retest reliability was high, particularly for the autistic group.Table 7 – Test-retest data statistical analysis | 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 (Ritvo et al., 2011)
- Sensitivity = 97% (test’s ability to identify positive results), Specificity =100% ( test’s ability to identify negative results), Concurrent Validity = 96% when compared with another diagnostic instruments (ADOS Module 4, SRS), and Test Retest Reliability r = .987.
A total RAADS-R score of 64 or higher is consistent with the diagnosis of autism and supports a clinician’s diagnosis. However, if there is a difference between the clinician’s diagnosis and the RAADS-R diagnostic assignment, the clinician’s diagnosis should take precedent. This is because symptoms may be revealed only during an interview. Also, the RAADS-R standardization study reported that many autism subjects, particularly those in their late teens and early twenties, failed to acknowledge the presence of symptoms that their families said were present and which were readily observed by the diagnostician. The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R).
The test has been validated and cited in the medical literature numerous times. However, as both an autistic and a psychotherapist, I have some concerns with the RAADS-R:
- Quite a few of the statements are not actually characteristic of autism and are likely going to be experienced as demeaning (e.g. I am NEVER a compassionate type of person).
- A few questions (e.g. the ones on lack of compassion and empathy) are characteristic of alexithymia rather than autism. While alexithymia correlates strongly with autism, it should not be confused for autism itself.
- Two-thirds of autistic adults were incorrectly identified by clinicians when they used this test, despite the fact that the test has strong validity.Examining the Diagnostic Validity of Autism Measures Among Adults in an Outpatient Clinic Sample (Conner, Cramer, & McGonigle, 2019) I suspect the reason for this is that the normative questions that indicate what we ought to be like are outdated. I contacted Dr. Ritvo regarding this, but she has declined to respond.
My test results are above. And it did identify me as autistic, which I am. The test is based on the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autismDiagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder | CDC which views us as having deficits, deficits, deficits!
I find many of the questions insensitive and lacking in understanding about what is normative in regards to autistics. The test claims that a clinician ‘ought’ to see the following characteristics if a person is autistic:
- A lack of compassion
- A dislike of close friendships
- Monotonous speech
- An inability to manage small-talk.
Of the 80 statements in the RAADS-R, the following 17 are normative. And remember, according to the RAADS-R, ‘never true’ gives the highest score (3) for these statements. Statements that are unlikely to be ‘never true’ for most autistic people, are in bold.
- 1. I am a sympathetic person
- 6. I can “put myself in other people’s shoes”
- 11. I miss my best friends or family when we are apart for a long time.
- 18. I understand when friends need to be comforted.
- 23. Meeting new people is usually easy for me.
- 26. I like having a conversation with several people, for instance around a dinner table, at school or at work.
- 33. I speak with a normal rhythm.
- 37. I am an understanding type of person.
- 43. I like to talk things over with my friends.
- 47. I feel very comfortable dating or being in social situations with others.
- 48. I try to be as helpful as I can when other people tell me their personal problems.
- 53. I am considered a compassionate type of person.
- 58. I can chat and make small talk with people.
- 62. I usually speak in a normal tone.
- 68. I can tell when someone says one thing but means something else.
- 72. I enjoy spending time eating and talking with my family and friends.
- 77. I like to have close friends.
These descriptions are so lacking in nuance and are not at all representative of who I am. This is probably my least favourite autism test for that reason alone.
A significant percentage of the statements are nearly impossible for me to answer or, have no appropriate answer. It feels like throwing a dart at times; no choice is accurate, just slightly more or less accurate. (Kendall)
That said, the test has a close to 100% success rate in differentiating autism from non-autism despite these limitations.
Questions in more detail
- Social Relatedness—total of 39 statements: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 31, 37, 38, 39, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 53, 54, 55, 60, 61, 64, 68, 69, 72, 77, 76, 79, 80
- Language—total of 7 statements: 2, 7, 15, 27, 35, 58, 66
- Sensory Motor—total of 20 statements: 4, 10, 16, 19, 29, 33, 34, 36, 42, 46, 49, 51, 57, 59, 62, 65, 67, 71, 73, 74
- Circumscribed Interests—total of 14 statements: 9, 13, 24, 30, 32, 40, 41, 50, 52, 56, 63, 70, 75, 78
Recommended next steps
After the RAADS-R, consider taking one of the tests below.
A simple screening test that is used as a basis
for pursuing a formal autism evaluation
Measures camouflaging, and can account
for lower scores on other autism tests
Identifies neurodivergence and
potential co-occurring conditions
Online autism tests can play an essential role in the process of self-discovery, and may inform your decision to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable medical professional trained in assessing autism.
If you are looking for an autism assessment,
have a look at the following post: