miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
This is because channel 4 are running a "How Autistic Are You?" test which is so cack-handed it would be laughable... if we didn't know that so-called experts are going to base things to do to us on it (why yes, Prof Baron-Cohen, I am thinking of you).

So just what is wrong with this test?
  • Before you even get to the test proper, it has several cock-ups on the demographics page.
    1. Under "sex" the options are "male", "female", "transgender" or "prefer not to say". Sex and gender are not the same thing and "transgender" is not a category any trans person of any gender would tick for their "sex".

    2. Level of Education is (oddly) ungranular. I know lots of people who did part of a degree but dropped out. There's no option for them.

    3. Scotland and Wales are not regions, they are nations.

    4. One thing all autistic people I know have in common is that inaccuracy really, really bothers us. If your test contains enough inaccuracies before you even get to the test proper that it's going to put most autistics off even starting it, you've got a problem.

  • Once you get into the actual questions there are further problems. Some examples:
    1. I would be able to taste the difference between apparently identical pieces of candy. - in what way are they apparently identical? Do they look the same? Are they different but in the same packaging? I need more specificity before I can answer this.

    2. "I would be able to tell the weight difference between two different coin sizes on the palm of my hand, if my eyes were closed." - I'd be able to feel the difference in size because the diameter of the coins would be different if they are different sized. But they might weigh the same if they are made of different metals; the question makes no sense.

    3. Part 2 is all about how good you are at telling how other people are feeling - I'm usually hypersensitive to this because I have taught myself how to do it. Long hard study of psychology texts. Pictorial studies of body language and facial expression. The questionnaire doesn't even consider if this is natural or a learned skill, though. I actually struggled to get past q 16 "I can tune into how someone else feels rapidly and intuitively" - quickly yes. Intuitively? Not in the slightest. But you can't pick "strongly agree" AND "strongly disagree" for the same question.

    4. "When I learn about a new category I like to go into detail to understand the small differences between different members of that category." - category OF WHAT? Again, this makes no sense whatsoever. Some things I am interested in; other things I am completely uninterested in. I don't know which of those this "category" is until you tell me more details.

    5. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details. this is such a false binary. BOTH BOTH BOTH. Cthulthu, autism test designers, embrace the power of AND. Again, I really struggled to get past this question, and only did it to see what horrors lay beyond.

  • Hoo boy. And then we get to the results page. So, I scored autistic female on sensory perception, and autistic male on organisation (because YAY LETS GENDER EVERYTHING AND OFC THERE ARE ONLY TWO GENDERS). But because I am very good at the social skills it asks for (because I taught myself to be, remember), even better than most neurotypical people, it tells me I am neurotypical. In fact, beyond neurotypical. The typical neurotypical people are waaaaay to the right of me on the little chart. This is despite there being a growing body of research that shows many autistic adults, especially women, are hyper-empathetic.
Honestly, all of this could have easily been solved by having some actually autistic people involved in the test design. We're really, really good at nitpicking. It's one of our defining features. But, OfC, lots of autism experts see us as a problem to be solved, a disease to be cured, not a people with feelings and rights.

I'm not a problem.
I don't want to be cured.
I like being me.

All I ask for is to be treated as if I have the same intrinsic worth as my neurotypical fellows.
Is that really so much to ask?

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 06:34 am (UTC)
nadriel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nadriel

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 07:45 am (UTC)
firecat: hello kitty surrounded by irritation lines (cranky hello kitty)
From: [personal profile] firecat
Pretty sure I'm not autistic but these examples make me want to tear my hair out.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 06:27 pm (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
Ugh, experts.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 09:44 am (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
I deeply suspect the reason it's strongly gendered with only two genders is because of Baron-Cohen's strongly gendered theories that in no way engage with transness. Or listening to autistic people.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 10:01 am (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Yeah. It's like, I get he had to have a hypothesis. However, clinging to that hypothesis when it's blatantly not working makes for very poor science, and, since this is science about humans, poor outcomes for the humans affected.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Apparently I'm neurotypical because I'm not interested in trains, rivers or mountains.

Had there been questions about being able to put Dr Who novelisations in order of page count or how many balls David Gower faced against India in 1979, matters might be different...

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 01:29 pm (UTC)
rhythmaning: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rhythmaning
I've not come across the questionnaire (and I won't go looking for it), but as a male who doesn't identify as autistic, that sounds like a very bad questionnaire design. I mean really bad. Downright amateurish.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] theandrewhickey
Simon Baron-Cohen is a useless incompetent who, because he uses his incompetence in service of "science" around autism, is a far, far, more offensive person than his more famously offensive cousin Sasha. He's largely responsible both for the "extreme male brain" false hypothesis of autism and the claim that we have no empathy, which he clings to despite both all the evidence and basic human decency saying that you shouldn't say that.

Date: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Disclaimer: haven't seen this "test" (pop quiz?), let alone done it...

...but the striking thing about it is how utterly dreadful self-reporting is for diagnosing autism is in the first place. Having been through the diagnosis process, there's a marked dependence on family history - to the point where I actually had to make contact with my parents for the first time in a couple of years in order to get that history; I'm not sure it'd be possible to make a reliable diagnosis without it. (And some of what they wrote about me came as a genuine, and unpleasant, shock.) Indeed, until the diagnosis came back nobody except my sister thought I was autistic; my psychiatrist only referred me initially in order to definitively rule it out... and yet, a few years later, she was comfortable describing me as having "severe Asperger's". And I only asked for the test at all because my sister was SO insistent on the point. (She's a social worker; she works with at-risk children now, but she was working at the time with vulnerable adults, autism being one of those vulnerabilities - and one she found oddly familiar...)

So yes. Not only does this test look pretty dreadful in itself, but it's flawed in its very conception by being exclusively self-reported.

-- anonymoose 23

Date: Sunday, April 30th, 2017 08:22 pm (UTC)
vampwillow: clouds like sheep (baa)
From: [personal profile] vampwillow
Thank you for not linking to the test as I'd probably be bound to take it and get as annoyed as you did for exactly the same reasons. As I had a diagnosis a few years ago it isn't as though I _need_ to do the test, but it seems one of those self-obligation things.

Date: Sunday, April 30th, 2017 08:41 pm (UTC)
vampwillow: skyline graphic (Default)
From: [personal profile] vampwillow
I can understand that.

I've spent my life not really understanding other people -- and they've not usually understood me, for that matter -- and though I've trained myself to try and be more polite and be more understanding I am fully self-aware that I'm faking it / going through the motions because I'm _expected_ to go through those motions. (Brain stuff is difficult!)

When I told my mother about the Aspie and Bipolar she tootled off to read what she could find on teh interwebs. And then announced "oh! I didn't know there was a name for it -- you've always been like that since you were really young".

Parental units!! :O

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