Autism test for children

The Sally–Anne Test

The Sally–Anne Test is a psychological test, used in developmental psychology and can measure a person’s social cognitive ability to imagine variations in another person’s perception of a shared experience. This test often has a similar result in people who are on the autistic spectrum. If you suspect that your child has autism you should seek professional advice but this harmless test will show if they share a social perception common seen in children on the autistic spectrum.
These drawings of Sally and Anne should be clearly presented to the child as you talk through them stage by stage. The final question will reveal the result.
This test can also be done using props. You will need two similar sized dolls or action figures, two containers that are distinctively different that can be closed, so an object can be hidden within; and an object that can fit into both containers. This object should be interesting or colourful in order to make it the focus of the test. 
If they think Sally believes that the orange is in her red box. It will show that their answer is continuous with Sally’s perspective; but not with their own. If they cannot take an alternative perspective, they will indicate that Sally has cause to believe, as the they do, that the orange has moved. If they think Sally sees this situation just like they do, will mean that they struggle to comprehend that Sally could have a set of beliefs different from their own.
This test was able to help me see very clearly how easily I can forget that Adrian’s reactions to a shared experience are often governed by this autism not by a desire to be difficult or to challenge me. This can be a helpful way to show a sibling why it’s important that they exercise more patience when trying to understand a brother or sister who are on the autistic spectrum. ~ Mark


Sally 2 (2)

Sally leaves (1)

Anna swaps

Sally boxes

Sally 6

ANSWER – “The orange is in the blue box”
Thinking that Sally sees this situation just like they do will mean that they struggle to comprehend that Sally could have a set of beliefs that are different from their own.
ANSWER – “The orange is in the red box”
This shows that their answer is continuous with Sally’s perspective; but not with their own. Proving that they are able to imagine other people’s alternative perspective, that are different from their own.


80% of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder chose the blue box. Indicating that understanding another person’s beliefs, desires, intentions, emotions and behaviors is no easy task and can sometimes cause confusion and in extreme cases anxiety.


 Talking Watches

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We take our understanding of time for granted. We just learn how to break up a day fairly early on in childhood, starting with daily routine activities such as mealtimes or wash times. Read more…


Books Written by Autistic Authors 


If we are to understand a complex condition like autism spectrum disorder it’s so important that we gain an insider’s view. Here is a list of fantastic books written by authors on the autistic spectrum that are differently worth a read. Read more…


Autism social skills

toy wooden blocks,
This simple two step exercise is designed to sensitively breakthrough the social barriers that can sometimes isolate a child who has autism, by building a way into their world that can allow them to take Read More …

aa me speech bubble

“Here are 3 games useful for social development. Simple but highly effective. Adrian and I found them for the best value on Amazon”



6 thoughts on “Autism test for children”

  1. What an interesting test. It’s one that I’ve not seen before. My older brother is autistic and when we were younger there were not a lot of tests around (or resources at all really) for people with autism. I would have loved to have had a resource like this available. Thank you for sharing it. All the best to you and Adrian!

  2. This is a very interesting and helpful article. The Sally-Anne test seems to be effective as it can enhance the children’s ability to distinguish between 2 things, which probably is one of the most important thing in their daily activity. And thanks for giving me the clear explanation for their answers of choosing between 2 boxes. It can help me determine a lot later on.

    1. Thank you for your comment Jasmine. I am pleased this test has helped you understand ASD a little better. 🙂

  3. This kind of site is invaluable resource for those who have autism in the family. Sometimes I think that parents must get so frustrated not knowing what is exactly going on with their child’s reasoning.
    I’m all for not just leaving it up to the medics to get answers. Keep up the good work and thanks for producing something which will really give parents a tool to help their autistic child. I sincerely hope you reach many families with this encouraging site.

    1. Thank you so much for acknowledging how essential our blog is. We hope to break down barriers, raise awareness, dispel myths and open minds and hearts. But we can only do this with support from people like yourself. Please take a moment to share with everyone you know who has a connection to autism in some way. Sharing our posts on social media can be the first step in changing someones world for the better.    

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