Yes. The big question. Is a professional diagnosis of Autism worth it? Is there any point?

I have seen this question asked countless times and there has always been a very mixed response.

I thought this week I’d talk a little bit about my views on the topic and where I stand.

To start, I think it is fair to point out that I received a professional diagnosis of ASD last year, but it wasn’t a smooth process. I don’t want to go off topic and talk about my diagnosis (maybe another day) but it took a good 7 years to finally get to where I am.

Living in the UK, I am lucky enough to have the NHS which meant a free Autism Assessment. To qualify for an assessment you are required to take several short tests provided by the GP to even get your name on the waiting list. I waited 7 months to then be told I would have to wait another 2 years. Yes, free health care is brilliant but it’s a constant waiting game.

Eventually I went private. But why did I so desperately want my diagnosis? Because I felt I needed it for my own sanity. Let me give you some context…

I had gone through my whole life being told I was “depressed” and “anxious” but I was still so different to everyone else. Going through life feeling misunderstood, frustrated and lonely was not easy. To be told it was likely I had autism and did fit in somewhere, it was the first moment in my life I felt ok in my own skin. I needed that diagnosis, for closure if anything.

Now, I get why a lot of people are happy with self diagnosing. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, but before settling with your own decision there are several things you need to consider:

  • Are you likely to need support in life? This could be at work, college, University etc
  • Are you wanting to seek therapy for anything relating to Autism eg. Anxiety?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I would suggest considering a professional diagnosis. Here’s why:

  • It is very hard to receive the right support for any ASD related issues in the workplace or at school without an official diagnosis. Unfortunately, a lot of places require a written document confirming the diagnosis before they are able to help. Of course, advising your workplace or school that you suffer from anxiety will go down a lot easier. But if you are wanting specific help it will be a lot harder without that diagnosis.
  • Like seeking support in a workplace, finding a therapist that suits you could be difficult without an official diagnosis. Before I had my official diagnosis, I saw a therapist but was unable to discuss any ASD related issues as she was not qualified and I wasn’tofficially diagnosed. Following my diagnosis, I was advised to seek support from a therapist who specialised in ASD.

It is so important to do what is right for you. Don’t worry I get it. It is not easy getting that diagnosis and if you are happy getting on with your life regardless, what is the point in going through that stress.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. We can only share our personal experiences. ASD is a broad spectrum and no two people are the same. Which is why asking an autistic person if you should get a professional diagnosis or not, is probably not going to answer the question for you.

Everyone is different and deals with their ASD in different ways. Some cope, some need support. Some people find ASD takes up only a small part of their life, other people find it takes up their whole life.

I hope the information I have provided will at least support you in whether a diagnosis suits you or not.

See you next week.

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