Autism is a mental health condition which is frequently mentioned in the media. No wonder, given that more and more children and adults are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Therefore, it is important to have a short checklist which may be a reason to go see a mental health specialist. The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient is exactly made to be that, and it has been developed by the same team that developed the longer and most used Autism Quotient Scale (under the supervision of Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University in the UK).

Note that this and all other tests from the Autism Research Centre in the UK are freely available via their website:

A score of 6 points or higher suggests (according to the description on the scale) that you may consider specialist diagnostic assessment. Warning: This is not a diagnostic tool! Normally, this test is only used in a healthcare setting and when people come to a doctor with problems, the doctor may use this test as a "red flag" tool to help them making a decision for sending people for further checks. Thus, if you just do this test on a rainy afternoon or as part of your study without any further concerns, you are not belonging to the group of people for whom this test is made.

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The scale can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (References).


This is a simple scale question with some reverse coded items.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agreesaq
- {score=1} Definitely agree
- {score=1} Slightly agree
- {score=0} Slightly disagree
- {score=0} Definitely disagree

l: saq
t: scale agreesaq
q: Please tick one option per question
- I often notice small sounds when others do not
- {reverse} I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details
- {reverse} I find it easy to do more than one thing at once
- {reverse} If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly
- {reverse} I find it easy to ‘read between the lines’ when someone is talking to me
- {reverse} I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored
- When I’m reading a story I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions
- I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g. types of car, types of bird, types of train, types of plant etc)
- {reverse} I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face
- I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions

l: saq_score
t: set
- sum $saq

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score is {$saq_score} points.
The scale states that a score of 6 points or more means that you may consider specialist diagnostic assessment.


  • Allison, C., Auyeung, B., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2012). Toward Brief "Red Flags" for Autism Screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist in 1,000 Cases and 3,000 Controls. Journal of the American Acad of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(2), 202-212.