Autism & Counselling Poll – Results

Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the Autism & Counselling straw poll (it’s still open if you haven’t voted!). I initially had the idea whilst preparing an essay on research methods (and I wanted to how the results of such a poll varied with sample size), and chose ‘autism and counselling’ as it is a subject close to my heart: after 111 responses, 77% of us have accessed some form of counselling at some time. As Life on the Spectrum is a worldwide community, it is impossible to compare these figures with the general population in any valid way, but the UK government’s Social Trends report for 2007 (1), says that 16% of adults in England had suffered a common mental disorder* in the week before the survey, and and 1.6% had accessed counselling.

For those who are interested, the graph below demonstrates how the results varied according to sample size, producing a 17% difference between ten and fifty responses. The yes-vote seems to have settled at between 75 and 77% after sixty-four votes. I will leave the poll in place to see how (or if) the results change with an even larger sample.

I hope to conduct future research into many aspects life with autism. If you are autistic (either formally, or self-diagnosed), and would like to help, please sign up to our research newsletter in the sidebar! Thank you!

©Leigh Forbes

*Common mental disorders (CMDs) include depression, anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, OCD, and post traumatic-stress disorder.

1. Social Trends 40 – Health (pdf)


2 thoughts on “Autism & Counselling Poll – Results”

  1. I think I have Asperger’s
    • I had never heard of Asperger’s, until my mom mentioned that she thought her husband (not my father) had it, so I looked it up, and was very surprised to find that the symptoms fit me like a glove, how nice to finally fit into something, and not feel so bloody misunderstood at every turn.
    • I would describe myself as creative, but not imaginative.
    • I rarely do laugh, and when I do it’s usually not when others are laughing.
    • I never get jokes.
    • I never remember jokes.
    • I hate being teased.
    • I am quite happy to eat the same thing every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Although I love change in my life, and almost thrive on it as I get really bored.
    • I do not like taking any kind of risks, so proceed with caution.
    • I always take people literally, and never see a joke as a joke. I don’t see the point in joking.
    • I cannot copy a mirror image, like dancing, exercise, if something is on my face and someone points to their face as to where the smudge is, I will copy the same side not the mirrored side where the smudge might be.
    • I struggle with left and right and have to stop and think, now which hand do I write with, ok that is right so the other must be left.
    • I can never follow a conversation in a group, I always manage to not be on topic, to the point where I now never bother to add my say or thought as it is seldom what they are actually talking about.
    • I struggle to hear conversations if there is any kind of background noise.
    • If in a group conversation I have no idea how people know when to interject with their own ideas, so I probably annoy people by just butting in as there never seems to be the right time, or by the time there is a gap in the conversation they appear to have jumped subjects so too late to talk anyway. Just too tiring to be bothered, it is much easier to just listen.
    • The cinema, I like to sit away from everyone else, and get rather annoyed when people have to sit so close when there is plenty of space elsewhere to sit.
    • I hate loud noises, so avoid fireworks, groups, gatherings, parties, bars etc.
    • I find small talk totally pointless and incredibly tiring, so end up looking bored (which I usually am) and unfriendly.
    • Friends are just tiring so do not bother with them either.
    • I have lots of ideas and start projects or studies and very quickly master them or get bored with them and move on, so seldom finish anything.
    • I hate being the center of attention.
    • I have no empathy for others, but plenty of time and caring for animals.
    • I love animals more than people and understand them very well.
    • In places of lots of stimuli I feel quite “not with it” like I have been drugged and cannot concentrate, this happens a lot in shopping malls and while playing sport.
    • I always burn dinner, so don’t bother to make it anymore, tend to try do other things like vacuum or whatever while its being done as boring waiting for it and forget about it.
    • Prefer one on one conversation or friendships etc.
    • Cannot stand shaking hands with people, it should be banned.
    • Cannot stand people (Strangers) touching me, no idea why they would want to, and I would never touch a stranger?
    • I used to say things (speak my mind) that would offend people, any potential friend would be gone in an instant. This took many years to realize what I was doing, my kids certainly helped point out all my flaws, so have learn now to be much more cautious in what I say. They are always terrified of bringing someone over that I might say something to embarrass them.

    • I would say that I can identify with virtually everything there! Although I don’t think I’ve burnt a meal (badly) yet. But especially your final point – except I still do it, however hard I try not to. In fact even if I say in advance ‘I’m only trying to give my view, good or bad, about ….” it usually ends up with someone being offended. At least we both know we’re not alone!

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