Online Autism Spectrum Tests

What the results can and can't tell you

Autism spectrum tests can help you assess for autism spectrum traits in yourself, a child, teenager, or another adult. These tests can't confirm a diagnosis on their own. Even a high score doesn't necessarily mean you have autism. However, results can help you decide whether you should ask a healthcare provider about being formally evaluated.

These tests generally include 50 questions or fewer and can be completed in a few minutes. Results are usually given as a number out of the total number possible (such as 51 out of 86). Some online tests are actually closer to being a form of telemedicine and involve working by video with a qualified practitioner.

Learn about online options and the research behind them. Then find out what to do if it turns out you may, indeed, be coping with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Online Tests for Autism - Illustration by Danie Drankwalter

Verywell / Danie Drankwalter

What Online Autism Tests Can Tell You

Autism is a developmental disorder that has no established biological markers. As a result, it can only be diagnosed by a healthcare practitioner through observation and interviews.

Major researchers and institutions have also developed online screening tools based on observations by parents or adults who suspect autism in their children or in themselves.

These tests can't diagnose autism, but they can help determine whether or not you have autism-spectrum traits and, if so, how severe they are.

You can use online autism tests to:

  • Quickly get a clearer understanding of what autism symptoms look like
  • Answer questions to help you determine whether there are red flags for autism
  • Decide whether to seek professional autism screening and evaluation

Who Might Take an Online Autism Test

Some of these symptoms in yourself or your child may indicate mild autism. If you recognize any of them, you may want to take an online autism test and discuss the results with your healthcare provider:

  • Trouble engaging in conversation
  • Difficulty understanding body language and facial expressions
  • Sensory sensitivity such as disliking loud noises or the feeling of a certain clothing item
  • "Stimming" behaviors, such as rocking back and forth, pacing, or humming
  • Repetitive behavior such as opening and closing drawers or lining up objects
  • Strongly held interests in a small number of subjects

This is true regardless of age. People with severe symptoms are usually diagnosed at a very young age, and most people with moderate symptoms learn of their diagnosis in childhood. Those with milder symptoms, however, may have gone overlooked.

Not all online tools are created equal. While some are carefully researched, others were developed by non-experts based on diagnostic criteria. It's possible to take a poorly constructed online quiz and find yourself worried unnecessarily. That's why it's best to select from one of the options listed in this article or research any other test carefully to ensure it's been properly created.

Online Autism Tests for Adults

If you're an adult who wonders whether your challenges are the result of high-functioning autism, you're not alone. That's why several organizations have developed online screening tools to help you determine whether you could be on the autism spectrum.

The Adult Repetitive Behavior Questionnaire (RBQ-2)

The Adult Repetitive Behavior Questionnaire was developed by researchers in Wales and is the best-researched tool of its kind. It can be downloaded from the University of Cardiff website.

Note that the researchers use the survey results to further their studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. A shorter quiz based on this research can be found at the Exceptional Individuals website.

Some of the questions on this test include:

  • (Do you) pace or move around repetitively?
  • (Do you) make repetitive hand and/or finger movements?
  • (Do you) have a special interest in the feel of different surfaces?
  • (Do you) collect or hoard items of any sort?

The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test

This test was developed by well-known researcher Simon Baron-Cohen at the University of Cambridge in England. This test has been researched and found to be moderately accurate, even in its short 12-question version. It is available online in a variety of locations, including Embrace Autism.

The AQ test asks a total of 50 questions, each with four possible answers of "definitely agree," "slightly agree," "slightly disagree, and "definitely disagree." Although the questions are written in the first person, they can be applied to either yourself or someone you know.

Here are a few questions from the Autism Spectrum Quotient Test:

  • I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
  • I often notice small sounds when others do not.
  • In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people's conversations.
  • I enjoy social chitchat.

Online Autism Tests for Children

Most of the time, autism is diagnosed in children under the age of 3. Thus, most online tests, quizzes, and observations are designed for young children—and, of course, must be filled out by their caregiver(s).

It's important to remember that parent observations may be biased or simply incorrect. Therefore, while caregiver input is very important, it cannot substitute for professional observation of the child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers direct access to many of the most common tools used to diagnose young children, each of which are described below.

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-R/F (M-CHAT-R/F) 

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers is the gold standard of caregiver interview questionnaires. It's a 20-item, caregiver-completed checklist with yes/no questions about early signs of ASD, including:

  • If you point at something across the room, does your child look at it?
  • When you smile at your child, does he or she smile back at you? 
  • Does your child look you in the eye when you are talking to him or her, playing with him or her, or dressing him or her?
  • Does your child try to get you to watch him or her?

The Survey of Well-Being of Young Children (SWYC)

If the M-CHAT seems to confirm your concerns, you can also peruse other related tests, such as the Survey of Well-Being of Young Children (SWYC): Parent's Observations of Social Interactions (POSI).

This test was designed to assess children under the age of 5. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and looks at three different areas of function, including developmental, emotional/behavioral, and family context.

There are between 33 and 40 questions depending on the age of the child. Some questions include:

  • Does your child have a hard time being with new people?
  • Is it hard to keep your child on a schedule or routine?
  • Does your child have a hard time calming down? 
  • Does your child have a hard time with change? 

The Repetitive Behavior Questionnaire (RBQ)

The Repetitive Behaviour Questionnaire (RBQ) is a 33-item caregiver questionnaire designed to measure children's repetitive behaviors. It was developed by Dr. Michelle Turner at Cambridge University.

Like the adult RBQ listed above, it's a validated online tool for identifying one common sign of autism: repetitive behaviors. You can find links to all the RBQ tests online.

Some example questions include:

  • Does he/she arrange toys or other items in rows or patterns?
  • Does he/she touch parts of his/her body or clothing repeatedly?
  • Does he/she rock backwards and forwards, or side to side, either when sitting or when standing?
  • Does he/she ever injure him/herself?

The Online Developmental Screening Study

The prestigious MIND Institute at the University of California at Davis has developed an Online Developmental Screening Study. The project involves multiple video-based doctor visits and observations and pays participants to be part of the study.

Other Autism Tests for Kids


The following are also recommended autism screenings for children. But if you're looking for them online, you'll come up empty. These are generally only given in a clinical setting:

  • The Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children (STAT): Designed for those ages 24 to 36 months, a child is prompted to interact with specific objects such as dolls, blocks, and toy cars. The examiner observes the child's behavior to help identify whether there are autism traits present. The STAT test takes about 20 minutes to complete and includes 12 parts.
  • The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ): This test is designed to assess children over age 4 who have a mental age above 2. It includes 40 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

What to Do If Autism Test Results Are Positive

It's critical to remember that online autism tests don't diagnose autism. They can only suggest that you or your child may need to see a healthcare provider for a professional evaluation.

It is also important to be aware that the results of an online assessment may not be correct. While it is possible to complete quizzes and tests at home, you may answer incorrectly if you don't have the knowledge or experience to understand what the normal range of child development or adult behavior looks like.

The best reason to take an online autism test is to screen for possible traits of autism. Once you've completed the screening and have found that autism is a possibility, it's time to take the next step.

Next Steps For Adults

If you are an adult and believe you may have autism, you may have already found ways to compensate for or take advantage of your autistic symptoms.

If you are struggling, however, you may wish to find a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker who has specific experience working with adults on the spectrum.

You may also want an official diagnosis if you are having trouble holding down a job and want to apply for Social Security as a disabled individual.

Next Steps for Children

If you have an infant or child showing signs of autism, start with a trip to the pediatrician and ask for an autism evaluation. If the pediatrician can't or won't provide an evaluation, consider reaching out to a local children's hospital or autism clinic.

Ideally, your child will be evaluated by a team that includes a developmental pediatrician or neurologist, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist. A complete assessment will evaluate your child's social and language skills, cognitive development, and ability to complete daily tasks independently.  

Disorders With Similar Symptoms

It is important to be aware that many disorders have symptoms similar to particular aspects of autism. Your healthcare provider will want to rule out these conditions before diagnosing you or your child with autism:

  • A child may not turn to you when you speak or respond to their name because they are hard of hearing.
  • There are many reasons children may be late talkers; these include hearing issues, apraxia of speech, and other developmental disorders.
  • Many people have sensory dysfunction (overreacting or underreacting to light, sound, pain, etc.) without having autism.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and several other developmental disorders look quite similar to high-functioning autism; it can be hard for a nonexpert to tell the difference in some cases.
  • Very high-functioning individuals may test negative for autism in online tests but still be diagnosable by experts.

Summary

Many online screening tests are available for adults and children who might have autism. They vary in how much research has gone into them and whether they have been validated. The results may be helpful but are not always definitive. It is important to follow up with a professional evaluation, which you will need  for a diagnosis to apply for certain programs and services.

A Word From Verywell

Online tests are a useful tool, but they are by no means a substitute for a formal autism diagnosis. Even online tests like the M-CHAT have their limitations, and results can be misleading.

If after taking these tests you discover that you or your child could have autism, it's vital to seek an expert opinion. Not only can an expert help you determine whether your online findings are accurate, but they can also provide an official diagnosis.

Only an official diagnosis can open the doors to special education, behavioral health services, Social Security funds, early intervention therapies, and other critically important services and programs for both children and adults.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Screening and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for healthcare providers.

  2. Barrett SL, Uljarević, M, Baker EK, et al. The Adult Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-2 (RBQ-2A): A self-report measure of restricted and repetitive behavioursJ Autism Dev Disord. 2015;45(11):3680-3692. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2514-6

  3. Lundqvist LO, Lindner H. Is the Autism-Spectrum Quotient a valid measure of traits associated with the autism spectrum? A Rasch validation in adults with and without autism spectrum disordersJ Autism Dev Disord. 2017;47(7):2080-2091. doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3128-y

  4. Honey E, McConachie H, Turner M, Rodgers J. Validation of the Repetitive Behaviour Questionnaire for use with children with autism spectrum disorderResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2012;6(1):355-364. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2011.06.009

By Lisa Jo Rudy
Lisa Jo Rudy, MDiv, is a writer, advocate, author, and consultant specializing in the field of autism.