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Testing and Diagnosis of Autism in Adults

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Seeking an Autism Diagnosis?

There are many adults who receive a diagnosis of autism later in life and many more who wonder if they might be on the spectrum. What most people think of as autism traits are commonly just the tip of the iceberg and do not encompass the full range of what one might experience. After all, it’s called a spectrum for a reason.

If you’re wondering whether you or someone you love might have autism, you’ve come to the right place.

If You’ve Met One Person with Autism, You’ve Met One Person with Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that affects communication, behavior, and social skills. People on the autism spectrum may experience difficulty communicating verbally or nonverbally, understanding social cues, following instructions, forming relationships, and expressing emotions. They may also have difficulty processing sensory information, including sound, touch, and light.

The range of autism can vary dramatically from person to person. Some people with ASD are highly verbal and excel at academics but struggle with social skills. Others may be nonverbal or minimally verbal and require more support for self-care, communication, and navigating the world around them. The latter group is more readily identified earlier in life and is what many come to imagine when someone mentions autism.

Previously, we would separate the two groups into “low-functioning” and “high-functioning”, but one’s value as an individual is not based on what they might contribute to society. What we were really measuring is how well one could comply with societal norms.

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The Struggle to be Diagnosed

Many adults, many women in particular, with autism may go undiagnosed for decades. They can also be misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, ADHD (all of which can co-occur with ASD), or even personality disorders. This can be due to the fact that they may have developed coping strategies that make them appear more like their neurotypical peers, masking any signs of autism. Those who have received a diagnosis later in life are often surprised to learn that many of the challenges they’ve been facing are related to autism.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, many adults with autism benefit from gaining a better understanding of how their brain works and using strategies to manage symptoms and create balance in their lives. With the right understanding and support it can be possible to live well with autism.

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Should I Seek a Diagnosis?

Seeking a formal diagnosis can be a long and often expensive journey. There are few who specialize in autism testing in adults, and those that do typically have long waitlists.

Seeking a diagnosis of autism can be beneficial for adults in many ways. For one, it helps them to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the way their mind works, which can lead to improved self-awareness and more confidence. A diagnosis can also provide clarity and validation that they are not “strange” or “wrong” and can open the door to access appropriate support and services.

Those with a formal diagnosis may be able to seek accommodations at work through the Americans with Disabilities Act for example. Having the right accommodations in place can make all the difference in your success as an employee. Accommodations range from modifying a work schedule or policy to changing the physical space of a workspace as well as how your colleagues and supervisors provide feedback. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to seek a diagnosis. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this decision, I can help you decide if seeking an autism assessment is right for you.

Are There Any Disadvantages to a Diagnosis?

The two primary concerns when seeking a diagnosis are time and money. The diagnosis process is lengthy and can be costly depending on the practitioner, insurance coverage, and other factors. It is also important to consider that with a formal diagnosis of autism comes some stigma and misunderstandings that may impact your life in ways you may not anticipate.

Deciding with whom and when to share your diagnosis can be challenging. It’s important to consider the potential implications of disclosure, as this may impact how you are perceived by others.

Ultimately, seeking a formal diagnosis is an individual decision and one that should be made on a case-by-case basis. It is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully in order to make an informed decision that is right for you.

Do I Need a Diagnosis?

In most cases, the answer is no. Unless you are seeking accomadations or filing for disability, a diagnosis may not be necessary. It is possible to live well with autism without a diagnosis or label.

In many cases, the best approach is to focus on identifying and managing symptoms that are most challenging for you. This could include learning stress-reduction techniques, finding support groups or mentors, developing strategies to manage sensory sensitivities, and much more.

There are many in the neurodivergent community who are self-identified and do not have a formal diagnosis. In my experience, all are welcome. I myself am an HSP (highly sensitive person). Yes, there are many characteristics that overlap with that of autism (I am sensitive to light and sound and can’t sleep if the sheets are too wrinkled), and I think this helps me be able to bridge the gaps between the neurotypical and the neurodivergent.

If you’re uncertain if seeking a diagnosis is right for you, schedule a free consultation, and we can discuss the pros and cons together.

Are You Able to Diagnose Autism?

Yes, as an LPC in Texas I can assess and diagnose autism. In some states, this is reserved for licensed psychologists. I use a semi-structured interview as well as gather information from a partner or family member in order to help me make an accurate diagnosis.

My goal is to provide you with clarity, validation, empowerment, and support on your journey. If you have any questions about autism testing and diagnosis services for adults, feel free to contact me.

How Much Does Autism Testing Cost?

While I understand the need for autism testing in adults, I currently do not offer assessment as a standalone service. The clients I work with come to me for more than “just” a diagnosis. My goal is to provide my clients with ongoing support, education, and resources to help them thrive.

Most autism evaluations will set you back $2,000 or more. For the same cost, you can attend two months of couples therapy and fundamentally change your relationship for the better [and have a formal diagnosis should you desire one (and meet criteria; I don’t just hand them out if you ask nicely)].

If you suspect you or your partner may have autism and are looking for ways to improve or repair your relationship, click the button below to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.