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Participation rhymes with sharing

They say that this is a time of sharing. But they also say that Christmas is the time when the person wants it. Apart from that, I would like to be able to tell you all what your shares are when you fill out a questionnaire on the Autism in Adults website.

When they access the Autism in Adult website and fill out the questionnaire to review it, there are many who send an email asking for a reply to their answers. That is, the autism spectrum ratio - 10 questionnaire (Auyeung and Baron-Cohen, 2012), allows you to get a result from which you can know if the person has characteristics to perform a screening assessment of the autism spectrum disorder.

The questionnaire has been available since the beginning of the website three years ago and continues. And since then we have gathered participants in 1995. We would like to share these answers with you all through a short descriptive analysis, which in our opinion reflects several important topics.

The QA-10 questionnaire, which consisted of ten questions, was completed by 1995 participants, 68.3% of whom are female and 31.7% male. The sample has an average age of 28.5 years. In terms of education level, 47.6% have a bachelor's degree and 31.8% a secondary level.

When asked if you have ever been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder, about 36.8% never report it, but 26% say that he has been diagnosed with anxiety, 20.4% depression, and 5.4% hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit.

93, when he was diagnosed, 93.% stated that a year ago 17.1% between one and five years, 13.6% between six and ten years, 14% between eleven and twenty years and 6.6% more than twenty years ago.

With regard to the health professional who diagnosed him, about 31.1% refer to the psychiatrist, 17.5% to the psychologist and 6.7% to self-diagnosis. 31% of them claim to have a family member diagnosed with a neurodevelopment disorder.

From the ten questions of the QA-10 questionnaire, it is possible to calculate the cutoff score that the authors of the questionnaire propose as six or higher. This means that participants who receive a value of six or more present a result that indicates the importance of carrying out a deeper autism spectrum screening and a disorder assessment.

In an initial analysis of the responses of the participants from 1995, we can see that the sample is well above the value of six. For example, in the first question, I often notice small sounds that go unnoticed by other people, 75% answer completely / completely agree. Or in the second question, I often focus more on the whole than on the small details, 60.5% answer completely different opinions/disagree.

As with the third question, I think it is easy to do more than one thing at the same time, 64.1% answer completely different opinions/disagree.

And on the fourth question: If they interrupt me, I can quickly return to what I have done, 72.5% say that they completely disagree/disagree. Or on the fifth question, I think it is easy to read "between the lines" when someone talks to me, 65.1% say that they completely disagree/disagree.

But also in the eighth question I like to collect information about the type of things (e.g. Types of cars, birds, trains, plants), 60% say that they fully agree/agree. In the ninth question, I can understand what someone thinks or feels by just looking at your face, 52.4% saying that they completely disagree/disagree. And on the tenth question, I think it is difficult to understand people's intentions, 72.4% fully agree.

Some considerations that seem important to me begin by validating the importance of using these screening questionnaires in the autism spectrum. Regardless of whether this questionnaire and the version in question contain ten points, the authors report that it is of good validity. In this data collection, our study does not allow us to evaluate the validity of the instrument. However, it is important to believe that a significant percentage of participants have a diagnosis of anxiety and depression. And it is known that there is great comorbidity with these two diseases in the autism spectrum.

In addition, and if we believe that the results obtained in the questionnaire reflect the reality that there are a large percentage of people from these 1995 participants, will probably have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Not least because we look at the fact that 32% of these participants have a direct family member with a neurodevelopmental disorder, and we know that there is an important genetic and hereditary contribution to the autism spectrum. We may think that an equally important percentage has long been without this diagnosis. For example, 6.6% for more than 20 years, 14% between 11 and 20 years and 13.6% between 6 and 10 years.

In addition, when we talk about the need to raise awareness, to inform and train healthcare professionals more and better. We can see that 31.1% of the participants were diagnosed by a psychiatrist and 17.5% by a psychologist. This means that I think that a significant proportion of these participants could make a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder in view of the results obtained in the questionnaire. We get a clearer and more important idea of the need to continue to insist on the training of health professionals, whether psychiatrists and psychologists, but also doctors of the general and family clinic, paediatricians, etc. Recalling that a minimum percentage of 6.7% was self-diagnosed. This information corresponds to what has happened in the international community, in which more and more people in the autism spectrum were partially diagnosed in response to the narrow response of their country's health system itself.

Finally, I would like to emphasise once again my thanks for everyone's participation in filling out the questionnaire. And wish you a touch of energy so that you can transform it into a scientific article next year and share it again with all of you and the scientific community.


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