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I'm wanting to find out more about adult diagnosis for autism. Is it useful to be diagnosed as an adult? If so, how do you go about it?
I was diagnosed at 50, and it's been essential for me. Whether it's important depends on your circumstances and experience of life.
Are you male or female? Why do you think you have Asperger's / ASC? Do you live in the UK? What in particular are you struggling with?
Hi Ana-ana, and welcome.
I was diagnosed with Asperger's 8 years ago now, when I was 25. It has been really helpful for me to know. I used to feel like my difficulties were my fault, and I just wasn't trying hard enough. Now I know I have Asperger's, I can look back and understand things better and not beat myself up about things so much. It's also helped me learn new coping skills. I haven't found any formal support, but I have met with others with Asperger's and autism (online and in person), and it's been really helpful to share tips and advice.
If you are having difficulties in work or education, then a diagnosis may help you access "Reasonable Adjustments," which employers have to make for people with disabilities. A diagnosis can help document your difficulties and may support a benefits application if needed.
Some people are quite happy to remain self-diagnosed. You can still read books and try out hints and tips without a formal diagnosis. As it can be difficult to get diagnosed, you would be accepted within the autistic community without a formal diagnosis if you believe you are autistic.
If you want to get an assessment, then you would need to start with your GP. It is better to call it an assessment rather than a diagnosis, as GPs don't like patients to tell them what they have. Not all GPs know very much about autism, so they may fob you off. It can help to take someone with you such as a parent, partner or friend, who can explain some of your difficulties as they see them as well. In any case, I would suggest noting down a few important points about why you think you have autism, so you can remember them. The GP can refer you to someone who can assess you. There is normally quite a wait.
Another option is to be assessed privately. This can be expensive, but you would avoid the stress and the wait. I was lucky that my parents were able to help me go this route because the NHS option was not a possibility for me at the time, but things are beginning to improve now.