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    Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women

    This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al. 2011) to test its utility as an autism screening measure for adult women. We recruited 672 cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 72 online. The sample contained 350 autistic women (M age = 36.21, standard deviation [SD] = 10.10) and 322 nonautistic women (M age = 34.83, SD = 9.93), screened using the Autism Quotient. A principal component analysis and parallel analysis revealed a five-component solution that accounted for 40.40% of the total variance. The extracted components appear to be consistent with what is known about the way girls and women display their autistic traits and interpreted as (1) Imagination and play: Describes interest in fantasy, fiction, and reflection on the quality and content of imaginative play in childhood. (2) Camouflaging: Describes effortful attempts to reduce the visibility of autistic traits. (3) Sensory sensitivities: Describes sensory processing hyper- and hyposensitivities across various modalities. (4) Socializing: Describes barriers to social understanding and participation. (5) Interests: Describes age-advanced and nonstereotypically feminine interests. We observed significant differences between autistic and nonautistic women across all extracted components, and the total score. A receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated an excellent level of discrimination. When applying a cutoff score of 57, the GQ-ASC correctly identified 80.0% of cases. The modified GQ-ASC is an effective and highly discriminant screening tool for use in adult autistic women. It provides valuable insight into the shared features and experiences of this underrecognized and underrepresented subset of the autistic community.

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    Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women

    Claire M. Brown , Tony Attwood , Michelle Garnett , and Mark A. Stokes

    Published Online:3 Sep 2020https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2019.0054

    Abstract

    This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al. 2011) to test its utility as an autism screening measure for adult women. We recruited 672 cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 72 online. The sample contained 350 autistic women ( age = 36.21, standard deviation [SD] = 10.10) and 322 nonautistic women ( age = 34.83, SD = 9.93), screened using the Autism Quotient. A principal component analysis and parallel analysis revealed a five-component solution that accounted for 40.40% of the total variance. The extracted components appear to be consistent with what is known about the way girls and women display their autistic traits and interpreted as (1) Imagination and play: Describes interest in fantasy, fiction, and reflection on the quality and content of imaginative play in childhood. (2) Camouflaging: Describes effortful attempts to reduce the visibility of autistic traits. (3) Sensory sensitivities: Describes sensory processing hyper- and hyposensitivities across various modalities. (4) Socializing: Describes barriers to social understanding and participation. (5) Interests: Describes age-advanced and nonstereotypically feminine interests. We observed significant differences between autistic and nonautistic women across all extracted components, and the total score. A receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated an excellent level of discrimination. When applying a cutoff score of 57, the GQ-ASC correctly identified 80.0% of cases. The modified GQ-ASC is an effective and highly discriminant screening tool for use in adult autistic women. It provides valuable insight into the shared features and experiences of this underrecognized and underrepresented subset of the autistic community.

    Lay summary

    Why was this study done?

    A lot of autistic women do not get an accurate or timely autism diagnosis. We know that when they do receive an autism diagnosis, they often feel stronger in their identity and feel more confident in advocating for their needs. We wanted to find a quick and easy way for professionals to work out which women should be referred for an autism assessment. We also wanted to help autistic women who do not want to have an assessment done feel confident in self-identifying as autistic.

    What did the researchers do?

    We changed the wording of an autism questionnaire that was designed for younger girls, and had 350 adult autistic cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 71 years complete it. We looked at answers in a way that told us which questions were most useful for telling apart autistic women and nonautistic women.

    What were the results of the study?

    We found that a number of questions were grouped together into different areas that were common for autistic women. These areas were as follows:

    (1)

    Imagination and play: Questions about interest in fantasy, fiction, and imaginative play in childhood.

    (2)

    Camouflaging: Questions about acting in certain ways to try to hide autistic traits.

    (3)

    Sensory sensitivities: Questions about feeling undersensitive or oversensitive to things such as touch, small, taste, and noise.

    (4)

    Socializing: Questions about feeling confused in social situations, and finding it difficult to join in.

    (5)

    Interests: Questions about interests that are not common for children who are the same age, and interests that are not common for many girls.

    What do these findings add to what was already known?

    There are a lot of ideas about autism that do not always apply to autistic women. These findings will hopefully help professionals and nonexperts understand autistic women better.

    What are potential weaknesses in the study?

    We do not know if any of the 350 autistic women who completed the survey have an intellectual disability, and we do not know if having an intellectual disability will change the results of the study. This is something that will be interesting to look into in the future.

    How will these findings help autistic adults now and in the future?

    The findings of our study can help doctors and mental health professionals work out which women should be assessed for autism. Our findings may also help to change attitudes about who can be autistic, and what autism looks like.

    Introduction

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; henceforth, autism) is currently diagnosed at a rate of approximately three males to every one female,1 although some evidence suggests that the rate may be as low as 1.8:1.2 At present, there are a number of barriers that delay or prevent autistic girls and women from accessing assessment services. These include, although are not limited to, gendered assumptions about how autism presents and who it impacts1; an increased likelihood that female autistic traits will be attributed to other causes3,4; standardized assessment measures that may not be sensitive enough to capture autistic girls and women who experience and express their autism in unique and nuanced ways5–7; and active attempts by autistic girls and women to camouflage, or mask challenges related to their autistic traits to blend into social situations.8,9

    Source : www.liebertpub.com

    Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) – NovoPsych

    The ASSQ is a 27 question assessment filled in by parents or teachers of children or adolescents (6 to 17 years of age). It is designed to be an initial screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) especially in those with high or normal IQ, or those with only mild intellectual disability. It can be used...

    Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ)

    The ASSQ is a 27 question assessment filled in by parents or teachers of children or adolescents (6 to 17 years of age). It is designed to be an initial screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) especially in those with high or normal IQ, or those with only mild intellectual disability. It can be used with boys and girls and uses the older conceptualisation of Aspergers syndrome to describe people on the milder end of the autism spectrum. It is not appropriate for people with moderate or severe intellectual disability.

    Validity and Reliability 

    In a sample of 87 boys and 23 girls aged 6 to 17 it was found that autism spectrum disorder (DSM-IV Aspergers) validation sample scored an average of 25.1 (SD 7.3) (Ehlers, Gillberg, Wing, 1999). These scores were similar to those of the autism spectrum disorder group in the main sample. The subjects in the validation sample were independently diagnosed with ASD (DSM-IV Aspergers) by a psychologist specializing in the disorder and a child psychiatrist. Moderately and severely intellectually disabled children were excluded due to the fact that the ASSQ does not tap features characteristic for such low-functioning subjects.

    Convergent validity was determined by a Pearson correlation between parent ratings on the ASSQ and Rutter scale was r = .75 n = 107; p < .0001. The mean interrater difference (i.e., between parent and teacher scoring) on the ASSQ (paired t test) was -1.96; t(104) = -2.39; p = .0188. No significant gender differences or differences across normal and intellectually disabled subjects were found regarding mean total score on the ASSQ.

    Scoring and Interpretation

    Results consist of a total score between 0 and 54, where higher scores indicate that many characteristics of ASD were reported. A score of 13 and above indicates ASD is probable, with a true positive rate of 90% and a false positive rate of 22% (Ehlers, Gillberg, Wing, 1999).

    In addition, a percentile based on Ebler, Gillberg and Wing (1999) sample of ASD children is presented.  A percentile of around 50 would indicate that this individual scored at a similar level to the validation sample who were independently diagnosed with ASD (DSM-IV Aspergers). A percentile of 4.9 corresponds to the the cutoff raw score of 13. See developer reference for further details.

    Developer

    Ehlers, S., Gillberg, C., & Wing, L. (1999). A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 29(2), 129-141.

    Assessment Categories:

    Child, Diagnosis

    Download PDF

    Sample Results

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    Source : novopsych.com.au

    Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women

    Request PDF | Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women | This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al.... | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate

    HomeAutism Spectrum DisordersNeurodevelopmental DisordersDevelopmental PediatricsDevelopmental DisordersMedicinePediatricsAutism

    Article

    Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women

    June 2020Autism in Adulthood 2(3)

    DOI:10.1089/aut.2019.0054

    Project: Autism & female sexuality

    Authors: Claire M. Brown Deakin University Tony Attwood Michelle Garnett Mark Stokes Deakin University

    To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

    Abstract

    This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al. 2011) to test its utility as an autism screening measure for adult women. We recruited 672 cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 72 online. The sample contained 350 autistic women (M age = 36.21, standard deviation [SD] = 10.10) and 322 nonautistic women (M age = 34.83, SD = 9.93), screened using the Autism Quotient. A principal component analysis and parallel analysis revealed a five-component solution that accounted for 40.40% of the total variance. The extracted components appear to be consistent with what is known about the way girls and women display their autistic traits and interpreted as (1) Imagination and play: Describes interest in fantasy, fiction, and reflection on the quality and content of imaginative play in childhood. (2) Camouflaging: Describes effortful attempts to reduce the visibility of autistic traits. (3) Sensory sensitivities: Describes sensory processing hyper- and hyposensitivities across various modalities. (4) Socializing: Describes barriers to social understanding and participation. (5) Interests: Describes age-advanced and nonstereotypically feminine interests. We observed significant differences between autistic and nonautistic women across all extracted components, and the total score. A receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated an excellent level of discrimination. When applying a cutoff score of 57, the GQ-ASC correctly identified 80.0% of cases. The modified GQ-ASC is an effective and highly discriminant screening tool for use in adult autistic women. It provides valuable insight into the shared features and experiences of this underrecognized and underrepresented subset of the autistic community.

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    Source : www.researchgate.net

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