Today I took my first steps of going to my GP appointment, and discussing my thoughts regarding possibly being on the Autistic Spectrum. I went with my mum who also gave some background information regarding childhood/young adulthood and I mentioned certain areas which made me want to get checked/assessed.
I am 21, and the GP recommended I look into services at my local 'Find it Out' centre, which is basically generalised counselling/emotional support. There is no medical training/thorough psychological training in the areas I am needing it in. Not only this, but these services are only offered between the ages of 11-18, which confuses me further as to why I have been told to go down this avenue.
I mentioned how I understood from research, that referrals are made for a diagnosis etc, to which my GP said was true, however was not always the first steps, and it is further along down the process.
I would like others opinions on this, as well as wondering if a second opinion may be the best option?
Thank you to anyone who replies
I pointed out to my GP that I am likely autistic and the GP referred me immediately to a psychologist for the official assessment and diagnosis.
Before that, the GP kept sending me to counselling/emotional support. That was before the GP and I realized that I am likely autistic.
Firstly, well done on taking that step! It isn't easy.
My GP made the referral immediately so I'm not sure which process they are referring to. As the waiting list on the NHS can be quite long (up to two years) it would be worth a second opinion if you want a diagnosis anytime soon. There is nothing wrong with having the counselling and emotional support while you wait for an assessment date, but I wouldn't consider it an alternative to a referral.
There is always the option to book a private assessment, but it can be very expensive.
I too was pointed in that direction, however this was once I had mentioned Autistic traits which I see in myself. Not only that, but the first direction I was lead to was a centre for 11-18 year olds, so as a 21 year old it doesn't really make sense.
In all honesty, although I saw an experienced GP, I felt that perhaps routes into Autism diagnosis was probably not her most familiar area. I felt a little annoyed due to feeling as though it was perhaps a wasted trip, particularly as for me this was something I found hard to discuss, to then not really get anywhere with it. I think I will seek a second opinion.
Thanks for your comment.
Thank you, that means a lot. I had been putting off discussing this topic for a while now, and panicked a little but knew it was more important to seek help/advice.
Everyone I have spoke to/researched about has begun the process with talking to their GP, to then be referred to a psychologist, so to have a different route was a little baffling. Particularly as I was referred to a youth counselling centre, for 11-18 year olds and I am 21. Not only that, but it doesn't really help me with looking in to possibly having Autism, as the staff there are not trained in this. I can understand whilst in the process of having an assessment, to perhaps seek for emotional support, but like you say, not to have as an alternative/to begin with.
It is a little frustrating as the wait is bad enough once having been referred, but to delay the process further leaves everything a whole lot worse. I felt that my GP visit didn't really get me anywhere, other than leaving confused and annoyed at having to go through the worry for no reason.
I did look into going private, but as you say it is very expensive and many help services surprisingly do not accept a private diagnosis.
I think I may have to look into getting a second opinion. Thanks again for your comment!
Hi Jess, as Patch said, well done on taking that first step. Don’t be discouraged or dissapointed, you simply need to go back to the gp (a different one if possible) armed with all the information you need.
There is a clear cut process that is to be followed in this country for an assessment of autism. I’ll put the link in here. You just need to read the information, make some points, then go back to the gp with the information. It would be good to go with somebody who won’t take no for an answer but if you have all the information at hand, they can’t really say no.
I’ve found that counselling etc hasn’t really helped in the past, it has been and can be kind of helpful to help you through difficult patches, so I don’t dismiss it, but what has been most helpful is getting my diagnosis and learning about autism.
I think there’s also something you can print off from the site to take with you but either way, these guidelines are set out by NICE and must be followed by the gp. The gp simply needs enough ‘evidence’ that suggests you could on the spectrum, so he can put this down in his referral. I was on the other side, I worked in the mental health team and often the referrals from gp’s would be inadequate and the team wouldn’t accept them, which is rather silly, but it gave them (the mental health team) a bit more space before they had to accept the referral.
Here’s the link ~ http://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis.aspx
Take your time, there’s no rush and you’ve done the hardest part, you’ve made the first step, you’ve honoured yourself by taking that first step, it’s all going to work out ok. Good luck, not that you need it, but you know what I mean.