Maybe you've read about it in a book, heard a story from someone close to you, or seen a video on YouTube. Anyway, it was about autism and you actually recognized yourself in it. Now what?
First, it's important to decide for yourself whether you want a diagnosis to be sure or whether it's fine for you to stick with a suspicion. You can read more about that in this blog post.
DIAGNOSIS | to diagnose or not to diagnose...
For some people it can be very nice to get a diagnosis. It can help with self-acceptance and with a diagnosis, you might be able to get extra guidance. Know that once you have a diagnosis, it is very difficult to get rid of it. In some cases it may also be that you are no longer allowed to practice certain professions, I believe that becoming a pilot can be a thing, and things like getting your driver's license now suddenly require extra steps.
THE DIAGNOSIS TRAJECT
If you decide that you would like to start the diagnosis process, keep in mind that this can take a while. How long exactly depends on the waiting list of the institution where you end up and the further procedure they have. But step 1 is always going to your family doctor with your suspicion. (This is spoken from a Dutch perspective, I don't know exactly how this works in other countries.) It's a good idea to have some concrete examples with you because your doctor will most likely ask you why you suspect you are autistic . The doctor will then refer you to a mental healthcare institution or an independent psychologist.
TIP: check in advance whether the psychologist is associated with your healthcare insurance and what the reimbursement is like. This can differ per institution and per healthcare insurance policy. The costs of such a psychological examination can be quite high, it is nice to know what to expect. If you cannot find this clearly on the website, just ask the institution what the costs are, they are legally obliged to inform you about this if you ask.
Not only do you have to deal with possible waiting lists, but the process itself often takes several appointments. These can be spread over a few days or weeks. This will also differ per institution.
Also keep in mind that the diagnosis process looks different for children than for adults. In general, the diagnosis in children is done by specialists in the field of childhood autism.
In addition to working directly with the child, information is also collected from parents/caretakers and other adults who have regular contact with the child, such as teachers or social workers. The diagnosis uses questionnaires, interviews and direct observation of and interaction with the child.
Autism in adults has only been recognized since the 1990s. Before that, all attention was focused on autism in children. Diagnosis in adults is done by specialists in adult autism. This is because adults generally have a different outlook on life than children and autism can express itself differently in them.
There are also specialists in the field of autism in women, because that too often manifests itself slightly differently than in men.
As an adults you will probably also be asked if your parents/guardians are able to answer questions about how you were as a child. The further examination often mainly consists of conversations with the psychologist and answering questions. They will be about very different topics, because autism can manifest itself in all layers of your life.
That was it for today. Have you been diagnosed with autism or are you thinking about getting a diagnosis? If you have any questions, do let me know! For now, goodluck with the next steps on your bridge and I wish you all the happiness and an amazing rest of your day.
ANWB. (2022, Juni 28). Autisme en autorijden. Opgehaald van Website van ANWB: https://www.anwb.nl/auto/rijbewijs/beperking/autisme-en-autorijden
De diagnose. (2022, Juni 28). Opgehaald van Website van Autisme: https://www.autisme.nl/over-autisme/wat-is-autisme/diagnose-autisme/