What To Do Next After Receiving An Adult Autism Diagnosis
I have written about what to do after receiving an adult diagnosis so please consult this article for guidance. There is also the decision on who should be told about the diagnosis. Ive written an in-depth blog about that.
Some People Abuse Self
Some non-autistic people may claim that they are, and then go on to spread misinformation about autism, and/or speak over actual autistic people. Their claim of being autistic gives their words a certain validity when talking about autism, which can make it extremely difficult to convince others that they are really spreading misinformation.
This is harmful, and it needs to be acknowledged and addressed.However, the conclusion that self-diagnosis is the problem in this scenario is false.
Self-diagnosis isnt the reason why this happens. And not accepting self-diagnosis doesnt stop this from happening either. Non-autistic people abusing self-diagnosis doesnt mean self-diagnosis is bad. It means abusing self-diagnosis is bad.
I have witnessed self-diagnosed autistic people harm autistic people.I have witnessed professionally diagnosed autistic people harm autistic people.I have witnessed non-autistic people harm autistic people.
Anyone, autistic or not, professionally diagnosed or not, needs to get well educated about autism before they start spreading any sort of autism information. Nobody, autistic or not, professionally diagnosed or not, should harm autistic people.
The problem of people spreading misinformation isnt created by self-diagnosis.The problem of people speaking for and over autistic people isnt created by self-diagnosis.
These problems are created by people who decide to do bad things.We should fight against that instead of falsely blaming self-diagnosis.
Age And Recency Of Diagnosis
Results from the two multiple regressions, with the personal autistic identity subscales as outcomes and age at and recency of diagnosis as predictors , are summarised in Table 4. With autism pride as the outcome, the model explained 2.2% of the variance and was not significant , with no significant predictors. With exclusion/dissatisfaction as the outcome, the model explained 21.5% of the variance and was significant . Here, as number of years since diagnosis increased, exclusion/dissatisfaction decreased .
Table 4. Regression results for the two multiple regressions with each of the Questionnaire on Disability Identity and Opportunity subscales as outcomes variables, and age, recency of diagnosis, and gender as the predictors.
Figure 1. Partial regression plot showing the relationship between recency of diagnosis and exclusion/dissatisfaction .
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Obstacles In Getting An Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
Despite the benefits of an ASD diagnosis, it can be difficult to find medical professionals who diagnose and treat adults. If youve lived with ASD for years, youve probably learned to mask your symptoms or may have milder signs that are difficult to diagnose. And because theres no lab test, diagnoses are based on non-quantitative behavioral factors that are hard to pinpoint.
If You Suspect Autism In Your
Toddler or Preschooler
Trust your instincts and dont be swayed by well-meaning comments from family members or friends, such as: Youre worrying too much Uncle John didnt talk until he was four or Shes just a bit quirky.
If your child is on the autism spectrum, the sooner they receive a diagnosis the sooner you can start providing them with the support and understanding they need to reach their full potential.
While were getting better at recognising the signs of autism, its still possible for a child with an autism spectrum disorder to reach school without receiving a diagnosis, especially if they dont have any language delay. The average age for a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome ranged from six years in one study to eleven in another.
Often these children may have coped well in preschool, but as the social rules become more complicated and work demands increase, they begin to struggle. Unfortunately, this can lead to a child being labelled a troublemaker by teachers, and social isolation and bullying from peers.
If you suspect your child may have ASD, ask your doctor for a referral for a diagnostic assessment. If nothing else, a diagnosis should lead to them receiving more understanding and acceptance at school.
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A New Understanding Of Asd
After reading and researching ASD and feeling certain this information describes yourself, you may experience an identity shift towards one that is autistic. Reflecting back on moments in your life, you may view things that happened in a different context, through the lens of autism. Retelling the story of your life may now have the ASD perspective. Remembering your stories, reflecting on them, and receiving feedback will change your narrative. This process of self-discovery helps to make sense of whats happened in your life how having ASD has shaped the way you think, react and feel. Maybe some of the confusion is gone, you understand yourself better, and in time you can share this discovery with people you trust.
This new identity may also cause feelings of loss, resentment or anger. Its OK to feel this way as this is a life changing event and it can feel overwhelming. Try to think about the positive things such as your strengths. People continue to grow, change and adapt throughout their lifespan. You can learn new skills and find new ways to do things that may make life easier and more comfortable.
Support Groups & Resources For Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder
While an adult ASD diagnosis can feel alienating at first, there are a variety of support groups out there. Along with in-person groups, many people have found comfort and support in the following online resources:
Adult residents of Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties are also eligible for the Adult Community Autism Program . Be sure to also look into the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative, which is offered by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Autism Services .
Interested in care management for adults with autism spectrum disorder? If you participate in the Pennsylvania Adult Autism Waiver, our team of Care Coordinators is here to assist. And if you dont already participate in the waiver, our Resource Center can guide you through the sign-up process. Contact us to learn how we can help you live a full and independent life in your community.
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Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no standard diagnostic criteria for adults with suspected ASD, but they are in development.
In the meantime, clinicians primarily diagnose adults with ASD through a series of in-person observations and interactions. They also take into consideration any symptoms the person reports experiencing.
If youre interested in being evaluated for ASD, begin with your family doctor, who will evaluate you to be certain that there isnt an underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for in-depth assessment.
The clinician will want to talk with you about any issues you have regarding communication, emotions, behavioral patterns, range of interests, and more. Youll answer questions about your childhood, and your clinician might request to speak with your parents or other older family members to gain their perspectives about your lifelong behavior patterns.
If the diagnostic criteria for children are being used for reference, your clinician can ask your parent questions from that list, relying on their memories of you as a child for further information.
If your clinician determines that you didnt display symptoms of ASD in childhood, but instead began experiencing symptoms as a teen or adult, you may be evaluated for other possible mental health or affective disorders.
Because most autism diagnoses are made in children, it could be a challenge to find a provider who will diagnose adults.
People Shouldnt Call It Self
Some people have no problem with people suspecting they might be autistic but they oppose the term self-diagnosed. They say people who suspect they might be autistic should use terms that make that clear instead of the term self-diagnosed.
I disagree with this demand simply because the term self-diagnosis exists precisely to make it clear that one isnt professionally diagnosed.
Furthermore, this belief that autistic people must always remain suspecting, questioning, doubting, unsure, unless they get confirmation from a, usually non-autistic, stranger to be considered valid, goes counter autistic liberation.
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When Should A Professional Diagnosis Be Sought
While I’ve defended self-diagnosis here, it’s worth mentioning that professional diagnosis can be practically helpful for a number of reasons. These mainly relate to insurance, access to services, and other legal issues. Finally, it’s worth noting that in some cases, psychological traits can stem from underlying physical causes that may be missed by someone without expert knowledge of physiology.
Still, for the most part, the two main issues people have with self-diagnosis don’t stand up to scrutiny. They rely on false assumptions regarding both the epistemic credibility of professionals and the purported motivations of those who self-diagnose.
When The Diagnosis Is Not Autism
Other disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social communication disorder, or social anxiety can sometimes look like autism. If doctors do pick up on these other disorders, they can recommend appropriate therapy and/or medication.
Read what it’s like to be married to someone with Asperger syndrome.
How To Begin A Diagnosis Process
Adults who suspect they or a loved one might be autistic can do a self-assessment test for adults. A person can find these tests online. While they cannot give a diagnosis, the tests are a good starting point.
A person seeking a diagnosis can take the results of such a test to a primary care doctor who will try to determine whether ASD may be present by:
- enquiring about the symptoms, both current and during childhood
- observing and interacting with the person
- speaking to a loved one
- checking for other physical or mental health conditions that may be causing symptoms
If no underlying physical condition can explain the symptoms, the doctor may refer the person to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to make an ASD diagnosis.
If symptoms are not present in childhood but begin in adolescence or adulthood, this may indicate a cognitive or mental health condition other than ASD.
It may be difficult to find a specialist who can diagnose ASD in adults. Individuals who would like a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to do research to find a provider with experience diagnosing autistic adults.
Another option is to speak to a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is willing to see adult clients.
Do I Need An Autism Diagnosis
Some adults may question whether they need a diagnosis later in life. Some people self-identify as autistic without receiving an official diagnosis. Its a personal decision. What can be helpful in receiving the label is access to supports and services that may not be available without a diagnosis, i.e. an income support program that provides additional income if mental health issues prevent being able to work full time. Maybe you need a job coach, a support person to look in on you a couple of times a week, specialized mental health services, or supports in the workplace. A diagnosis can also provide peace of mind and validation that indeed, you do have ASD.
Self-diagnosis in the adult autism community is widely accepted. You can join a support group or get together with other ASD adults without a formal diagnosis. Pursuing a diagnosis can be expensive as most health plans wont cover the cost and it can be difficult to find a professional who is adept at providing an adult diagnosis.
Why So Many People With Autism Have Eating Disorders
These traits are no longer alien and inexplicable but are now entirely understandable and acceptable when viewed through a lens of autism. This echoes research that explored experiences of late-diagnosed adults, in which the majority of participants had revisited aspects of their personal history and rewritten their personal narratives, resulting in positive outcomes.9
We both self-identified as autistic long before deciding to seek formal diagnoses, so we expected that the diagnostic process would simply be seeing what we already knew to be true inscribed on paper. As firm believers in the validity of self-identification by informed and self-reflective adults, we underestimated just how transformative the formal diagnostic process would be for us. Our lives have now been split into pre- and post-diagnosis; taking us from a place of confusion, frustration, and obfuscation to a place of understanding, self-acceptance, and radical authenticity.
We now have an understanding of the framework that underpins our existence: we have come to accept our strengths and know that they are not diminished by our challenges; we now know how to exercise better self-care and are healthier and happier for it; we no longer waste energy trying to be successful neurotypicals and, instead, focus our efforts on thriving as our autistic selves.
Autistic, not difficult
For we are not difficult; we are autistic.
Adult Onset Or An Imbalance
With the rise in adult autism diagnoses, the question is, What caused these symptoms to manifest? If social struggles, rigid routines, sensitivity to stimuli, and nonverbal interaction have always been a problem, odds are it is truly autism or an ASD.
But what if you did not always struggle with those things? What if, in recent years, youve become more obsessed with routines, less communicative, and more sensitive to external stimuli? What if a recent trauma or life change has made these symptoms worse, or created those coping mechanisms?
If thats the case, is it autism or could it be an emotional imbalance?
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Difficulties Of Finding A Diagnosis
Autism is not just a disorder that affects kids, and its not something people grow out of. Its a lifelong experience. This is well-known among people who understand autism. Even so, most who evaluate autism are more familiar with it in children.
Also, insurance typically doesnt cover autism screenings for adults, so you may find yourself paying out of pocket. This could be very prohibitive, as screenings can run from $1500 to $3000.
Additionally, adults with autism may not present the typical symptoms, having been squeezed into a mold of conformity over the years. That makes autism harder to detectbut not impossible.
Common Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder fall into three main categories:
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Social interaction
- Repetitive or ritualistic behavior
While these symptoms vary from person to person, they often become more apparent in adulthood. Children with autism have parents and teachers as their support systems, but adults with ASD may feel isolated and alone. It can be difficult to juggle the demands of adult life while handling your symptoms, which well explore below.
If youre asking yourself, what do adults with autism struggle with?, here are the main symptoms:
- Difficulty interpreting body language and facial expressions
- Deep interest in only one or two topics
- Inability to make eye contact when speaking with others
- Clumsiness and general coordination difficulties
- Trouble interpreting and accepting corrections or feedback from others
Where To Test Your Child For Autism
If you suspect your child may have autism spectrum disorder, start by raising your concerns with your childs pediatrician. If your doctor determines that your child may be showing symptoms of autism, they will refer you to a specialist who treats children with autism spectrum disorder, such as a child psychiatrist or psychologist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician, for an evaluation.
Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Options
Are you wondering, how do you cope with an adult autism diagnosis? If so, its important to remember that autism is not a disease, so you are under no obligation to seek treatment. However, therapy can help you significantly reduce your symptoms and improve your ability to deal with the stressors of everyday life.
Individuals who treat their ASD typically undergo a blend of verbal, cognitive, and behavioral therapies. Your therapist will work closely with you to design a customized treatment plan based on your unique challenges. These may include depression and anxiety, struggles at work, feelings of isolation, or family problems. By contextualizing ASD within your everyday life, you can create practical ways to manage your symptoms.
Are Adults Self Diagnosing Autism
Autism is becoming a more prominent discussion in many areas of life, especially in regards to children and parenting. But one trend on the rise is adults self diagnosing autism spectrum disorder . Now, more than ever, adults are recognizing signs of autism in themselves, leading to contact with a professional who may diagnose them with autism or some form of ASD.
But what is adult autism and is it really autism?
If You Are Told You Are Not Autistic
Sometimes people are told they aren’t autistic, and sometimes they may be given a diagnosis they don’t agree with.;
You can seek a second opinion, which either means going back to your GP to explain that you aren’t happy with your diagnosis and ask them to refer you elsewhere, or paying for a private assessment.;
If you go for a second assessment, remember that it may reach the same conclusion as your first.;
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