The overlapping symptoms of autism with other mental health conditions can lead to misdiagnosis. Over the years, our understanding of autism has evolved, and it is no longer considered a rare mental health disorder. The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R) has proven to be a useful tool that aims to cover all the facets of autism that need addressing for a proper diagnosis. The 80-item scale takes participants 15 to 20 minutes to complete, making it somewhat annoying and time-consuming.
RAADS-R primarily focuses on language, social relatedness, sensory–motor problems, and circumscribed interests, but it does not provide valuable insights into what the scale aims to measure. Thus, the need for short and insightful results has been recognized, serving a similar purpose. RAADS-42, as a shortened version, not only provides a time-effective assessment but also includes a 10-point scale, allowing participants to freely indicate their level of agreement with each statement. Another feature of RAADS-42 is that it offers insights into the spectrum of traits that RAADS-R seeks to assess.
RAADS–42 is based on the work of 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. who developed The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R): A Scale to Assist the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults (2011). RAADS–42 is not associated with the above research and it serves as a shortened version of the original scale. RAADS–42 self-test has been adopted from the preliminary version of the research paper “Introducing the 42-item Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale”. RAADS–42 quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool, only a mental health professional can make a proper and definite diagnosis of any neurological and developmental disorder. Mental health professionals do not rely solely on self-report measures and they employ clinical interviews for the definitive diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorder.
The main focus of RAADS-R is to access the key symptom areas of autism such as social relatedness issues, circumscribed interests, communication problems, and sensory-motor deficits. RAADS–42 provides a shorter version of the RAADS-R and offers valuable insights to participants by accessing symptom areas and elaborating on them across various facets of autism.
Auditory: People with autism process sounds differently and face difficulty in focusing on conversations. For example, a busy restaurant might overwhelm someone due to heightened sensitivity to auditory stimuli. The heightened sensitivity impacts the ability to filter and process sounds effectively. It may contribute to challenges in social settings.
Empathy: People with autism may find it hard to understand the emotions of others. They face difficulty in picking up facial expressions and social cues which makes it hard for them to respond in certain situations. For example, they may respond differently or might not notice easily if a friend is feeling sad and it impacts their ability to offer support or comfort.
Homophily: People with autism prefer spending time with people who share the same interests or like the same things. They might feel at ease and have better connections with people who are in the same stuff they are passionate about.
Outsider: People with autism often feel like they are on the outside because social norms can be tricky for them to understand. They may face trouble with unwritten social rules, making it hard to blend in and leaving them with a sense of being an outsider.
Chit-chater: People with autism find small talk challenging. Engaging in casual and everyday conversation for them might feel awkward, causing social discomfort. For them, understanding jokes, sarcasm, or hidden meanings can be like solving a puzzle.
Literal: People with autism often take things very literally and face trouble with figurative language. For example, if someone says “It’s raining cats and dogs,” they might feel confused, which impacts the ability to grasp the intended meaning.
Dialectical: People with autism prefer things to be straightforward and struggle in conversations where people have conflicting opinions. For them understanding opposing viewpoints and getting into nuanced thinking can be a bit of a hurdle.
Solitude: People with autism experience isolation due to difficulty in connecting with others. They prefer solitary activities and find it hard to initiate social interactions. They feel comfortable spending time alone and it impacts their relationships with others.
Misinterpretation: People with autism face difficulties understanding the true intentions of others. For example, they might mistake someone being angry when they are not.
Mimicry: People with autism experience copying behaviors to blend in socially. Someone with autism might intentionally copy what their friends do and it helps them to adapt to or better fit in social situations.
Sensory: Sensory stimuli is a key feature of autism, affecting the perception of the environment. People with autism see and feel the world around them differently. They may feel uncomfortable or stressed by some textures, sounds or lights. For example a person with autism may feel overwhelmed in places with really bright lights.
Analytical: People with autism give more preference to details and often dive into the specifics before looking at the bigger picture. They zoom in on the details first examining each part closely and then stepping back to see how everything fits together.
Rigidity: People with autism like things to stay the same and have a routine they stick to. They do not like to get the routine disturbed and they may feel anxious or upset when the routine gets disturbed. They like having a well-organized plan helps them feel comfortable.
- 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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1133-5 ↩