Hoffmann Foundation for Autism
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Help with the process of diagnosing autism in adults

Just wondering what the process is of diagnosing autism in adults.

I am 21, and soon going to go to my GP in regards of perhaps looking into seeing whether I am on the autistic spectrum (high functioning/Aspergers.. I am not too sure). There are many reasons for believing this, and both my parents agree I should also be checked too due to various reasons.

How do you tell your GP? Or do you literally say "Can I get checked for Autism?" and how likely is it they will do any action to get you referred to be thoroughly checked?

Plus, should I be referred, what actually happens? What sort of questions or checked do they do?

Lastly, as I am an adult, is it harder to be diagnosed/will I be taken less seriously?

Any answers/advice would be greatly received. Think I am just worrying a little. :)

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My son was only diagnosed at age 28. I think it depends sadly on where you live in the country as to how you will fare getting an assessment. With my son ( we live in Kent ) he was already being treated by the mental health team and had recently been diagnosed with long standing depression social phobia and anxiety disorder. With his support workers help he was assessed by a private company commissioned by the nhs Who specialise in adult ASD. He has now also been referred to the Maudsley hospital ( once known as Bedlum) for ADHD testing, but we expect a longish wait for this. Unlike yourself my son did not seek to be diagnosed and has taken time to accept it. He is angry his whole life has been affected by something which if picked up as a child might have made a difference to his life’s path. I digress, obviously seeing your GP is your first step then if your reasons and their opinion suggest assessment you will be referred - expect a long wait as not all areas commission out and indeed Some won’t test adults at all. If you are working and you want to know for your own peace of mind you could go down the private route but it is expensive and not recognised for benefits reasons. If you are not working you need an nhs assessment and you also need to be prepared to fight for this if it is not forthcoming - look into the autism charities for help if you need it, I have heard they can be very helpful. Good luck

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Thank you for your help and thorough reply. I live in West Sussex, and in all honesty I am not really sure on the speed of things here, but I have heard many people having rather a long wait, which shouldn't be acceptable- yet unfortunately is. I feel the same, that perhaps should I have known as a child, things may have been done differently.

It is a shame that adults don't seem to be taken as seriously as perhaps children when looking into Autism etc, especially as it is quite a big thing and can help.

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope the diagnosis for your son has helped him

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My husband was recently put on the waiting list to be assessed for autism as an adult. He tried to be assessed two years ago, but there was no system in place for assessing adults in our county at the time (Warwickshire). Now there is. However, as with anything, the waiting list is long. We do have two children with autism so I don't know if that helped in getting him on the waiting list. As his wife, I also provided a letter listing symptoms as I saw them. He had to fill in a short questionnaire, but there were no problems getting him on the list otherwise. I don't know what kind of help there is for adults. The National Autistic Society may know more ( autism.org.uk/ ). I do know that he has been for counselling several times over the years ad the counselling has never helped. I managed to find a counsellor who specialises in autism and now my husband feels that his needs are being heard and that the counselling is beneficial for a change. It is good to know because it changes the way I view my husband, how he views himself and how difficulties now seem to make sense. Good luck. x

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Thank you for your in depth comment, it's really helpful!

It's a shame there isn't a lot of focus on Autism in adults, and the fact it is such a long procedure to get diagnosed, but I suppose at least their is a process which is good.

I'm glad your husband is now on the list, I am sure that is reassuring in itself now.

That's a very good idea regarding the specialist counselling, I may have to look into that myself! I am glad it has been helping him, it must be like a weight has lifted.

I'll have a little look on the website, and see the next steps for being referred. Thanks again for your help x

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No problem. The NAS has a good helpline and may be able to point you towards specialist counselling. Good luck and I hope you find the help you need. x

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I was referred by the NHS to a private diagnostic organisation called Axia ASD based in Cheshire. I had a 3 month wait for the appointment which took around 2hrs and was preceded by a 12pp questionnaire to complete with my family.

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Have you researched local diagnostic services in your area they will tell you how you can be referred there. If you have a good GP you can always ask them to refer you. It be good if you can to write about why you think you are on the spectrum to your GP.

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