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.
What BlueRay said. There should be a local pathway for diagnosis of autistic adults, but it's possible the GP doesn't know it.
The Royal College of General Practitioner's GP toolkit often links back to this NAS site. This NAS page has a section "Your GP’s responsibilities":
In England, your GP should be following NICE guideline 142 and be aware of the statutory guidance requiring a clear diagnosis pathway for adults.
It may be worth checking the NAS directory for diagnostic service too, although in some places the information is out of date. If you still can't get identify the route to the adult autism diagnosis service, then the local mental health trust probably has something like a single point of access and referrals who should know (the diagnostic service is probably provided by the trust too). The idea should be to identify autistic people before they end up with a mental health diagnosis, so in some ways the MH route makes little sense.
It's also amazing how many counsellors, therapists and psychiatrists don't take possible autism seriously. A minority will pick it up, and sometimes counselling or CBT can help. I believe certain types of therapy (specifically psychodynamic) can be actively harmful to autistic people. It shouldn't be this hard, but it still is in some places. Good luck.
Same sort thing that I had to do. Sadly a lot of GP don't have no a clue how about to get and adult diagnoses. I am only guessing during time at GP it explained a lot of upset and distress in your life. For that that would correct support. But lot people who are trained in that counselling/emotional support have not been trained in dealing with people who have autism. What could sound like small thing to some who isn't autisic could be a big tell in someone who is autisic.I realy wish all GP had poster they could put in there staff room that explains how get diagnoses for child and adult in there area. The problem is no GP wants to say don't know how to do anything, ego's.Now I am in England and pointed the GP to http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/15/ which requires NHS to do diagnoses for adults. (The England/Wales part is important, it dosn't cover all the UK) That saying about the nothing about duration of waiting time, you could be in for long wait.
Each NHS authority do things in a different way. In some areas it done by mental health in others learning disabilities. (autism in it self is not a mental health issue or learning a disability but some people who have autism of couse could have them as well). What you could do is see if there are any support groups for people/familys who have autism or learning disabilities in your area. They might know where GP needs to send a referral to. (PS I am not saying you have mental health or learning disabilities) PS When you do go for assessment I would recomend have you mother there with you. Firstly for moral support and she would be able to tell things about you would not be able to. Things like your early years and how you really like today.
I found the receptionists at my doctors surgery very obliging when I suggested they put up some autism friendly notices in their surgery. Maybe when you approach your gp next time about putting up a notice in their staff rooms, now you know he has a big ego at play, you could take a different approach, while bearing this in mind. I don’t know, maybe flatter his ego (genuinely, otherwise it won’t work) and get him on board and maybe ask him what he thinks about the idea of putting up some readily available information about autism, for the staff to read. Help him to see that it’s his idea. Did all of the gp’s you approached turn down your suggestion?