Failed autism test...

But I have major communication problems and when I watch videos of people with autism speaking about their communication problems it hits home with me, a video I watched yesterday even made me realise why I always pull my phone out to play with/look at when I'm speaking in appointments etc. Never understood why I done that but now I realised it kinda helps me speak a little better.

I have no light/sound sensitivity or anything like that, only the communication problems. They say it's down to social anxiety but I'm not sure.

Is it possible to be autistic with only communication problems?

I failed the test and the psychiatrist said it's just anxiety.... but I don't understand how anxiety can cripple your communication skills as badly as mine every day in life

  • It's hard to give advice as I don't know you in person, so I'm not sure if you'll find this relevant. Do you think you meet the criteria for Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder? There are many symptoms and behaviors overlap between ASD and SCD

  • Responding to others

    Ermm, not specifically but I have communication problems. 

    Using gestures (like waving or pointing)


    Taking turns when talking or playing


    Talking about emotions and feelings


    Staying on topic 


    Adjusting speech to fit different people or situations – for instance, talking differently to a young child versus an adult or lowering one’s voice in a library.

    Don't think so

    Asking relevant questions or responding with related ideas during conversation

    I have communication problems so it depends what this means? Sometimes I can be muted but in terms of related questions / ideas no, but because of my problems I'm not good at getting those questions and ideas out but I think this is a no

    Using words for a variety of purposes such as greeting people, making comments, asking questions, making promises, etc.

    I don't even know what this means tbh 

    Making and keeping friends

    No friends but that's probably cause of my communication problems. 50/50 I think 

  • Hi,

    Anxiety can be crippling. I'm not autistic but have an abi, I also have massive anxiety and ptsd, I rarely communicate with any one I don't directly know and even that makes me uncomfortable I don't go out places or socialise anymore. I just about hold it together going to the local shops or school run as I can't show my children how nervous I am, but inside I'm screaming! So yes anxiety can cause these issues 

    However, doctors can also be wrong, you say you failed the test, we're you given a full assessment or just a questionnaire? Did you give answers based on a lifetime hiding how you think/ feel? I'm not saying that they are wrong but you can ask for a second opinion. 

  • Thought I would grab my diagnosis report to assist, the DSM-5 criteria for ASD advises there must be evidence of difficulties in: 

    • Social initiation and response 
    • Non-verbal communication 
    • Social awareness, insight and social relationships
    • Two symptoms in restrictive and repetitive patterns 

    Symptoms must be present in early childhood and cause significant impairment 

  • Could you maybe describe what kind of communication difficulties you are experiencing? Is it mainly difficulty talking about emotions and feelings? Or is there more, like, having difficulty getting people to understand you in general?

    Not sure if it help, but the DSM-5 criteria is:

    Diagnostic Criteria

    A. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:

    1.       Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for the social context.

    2.       Impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as speaking differently in a classroom than on the playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.

    3.       Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.

    4.       Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).

    B. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.

    C. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).

    D. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains or word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.

  • The communications criteria for DSM-5 for ASD is:

    Diagnostic Criteria

    A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):

    1.       Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.

    2.       Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

    3.       Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in  sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

  • You failed the autism test, lucky you, meaning you will have to look elsewhere for the reason to your struggles, where perhaps instead of seeking a neat little box to rest on, you might start looking at ways to control your anxiety.

    A Diagnosis is for the purpose of treatment and given there is no treatment for adult autism, it's a worthless diagnosis and even a limiting diagnosis for are you aware of just how such a diagnosis can limit you in adult life, beyond the potential for adopting issues that are not your own to bear through the post diagnostic ' education and community ' of which if you are anything like myself, you might undo all your carefully crafted coping strategies to end up worse than you were before diagnosis.

    But though there is no treatment for adult autism, there is treatment for conditions autism might cause like say for example anxiety and/or depression.

    And verbal communication, sometimes in this  overly noisy world, where everyone thinks they must be exercising their jaw muscles constantly for no one to be listening to one another it's just restorative to settle into  the beauty of silence and observation.

  • Anxiety can be crippling and seriously impact on your life - communication is just one area.

    It sounds like you are looking for answers, so I would suggest maybe looking into anxiety more to see if your communication issues are linked.  I didn't know I was suffering from anxiety until my GP explained it for me (I am not good at understanding what I am feeling/if I am ill etc.) - I have always had anxiety and still do (but much better managed thanks to medication and other self-help techniques), I didn't know any different until I began managing it better and trust me, I didn't realise how great things can be with it weighing you down substantially.

    I couldn't eat, sleep, work, leave the house; my life was ruled by it.

    You may not have got the exact answers you want, but it may be a solution for you, which in the long run is what really matters.  If after some work around the anxiety front, you feel there is more to it, then I would suggest going back to your GP.

  • While it's very likely that you share symptoms with autistic people that doesn't mean you're autistic. Work with the psychiatrist, ask them to help you understand and improve the underlying challenges behind your communication problems.

    Finding out it's not autism isn't a bad thing at all. While it would be great to be able to specifically identify the root cause you do now at least know something that can be eliminated and focus efforts and attention where it might be more helpful.