I have long realised my brain is wired a little differently to others and browsing these threads there is a lot I can relate to, but first a little background. I am 36 years old and have always struggled to maintain friendships and relationships. I can see the importance of things like small talk and hugging etc. But I can't relate it to myself. It's objective, like looking at things through a microscope. The main things I can relate to on these threads are a complete lack of ability to interpret body language (I swear I must have missed out on relationships because I have not been able to interpret women flirting with me!) and a strong desire to correct people when they are wrong, which I know doesn't particularly popular! But there are lots of other things as well!
so I am very interested in finding out where I set on the spectrum, however reading about getting a diagnosis the process seems very stressful (and I say that in a way I know you guys will truly understand) and from what I read at the assessment stage it is normally requested that you bring someone along to talk about your childhood, how important is this in a getting a confirmed diagnosis? My only real options are my dad (bless him, but he doesn't really remember much from my childhood, as an example yesterday he could not remember the colour of my school uniform) or my brother who lives at the other end of the country.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
It's useful for them to talk to someone who knew you in childhood, because symptoms have to be present from then, but it's not usually mandatory. Any information you can get or remember about your childhood can also be helpful, and they can usually get information from someone by means other than a face to face interview. My parents live in France, and I was able to give their details for my local assessment service to contact by phone or email-although there was also the option to go ahead with the assessment without anyone's input with the understanding that you couldn't backtrack and ask for someone else's info to be included after the assessment.
I think there are lots of people who don't take relatives because no one lives close or their parents don't remember much (from what is often a long time ago) and any assessment service will be aware of that, and that it is not always practical or possible for many adults.
I got my diagnosis at 56. Mum was then in her 80s and quite infirm, so I rang to ask if it would be possible just to come alone. They told me I could, but it might make it more difficult to get a diagnosis. In the end, she came along (she enjoyed the day!), but the psych only spoke to her for about 20 minutes. It was just to find out if she'd had any problems with the pregnancy, what my behaviour was like as a child, and whether I passed through the usual developmental stages alright. I think the main thing they got from her was that I was quiet at school and disruptive at home (quite common with autistic children). Judging by the diagnostic report I got, I think my own testimony was probably enough. The psych noted my restlessness, lack of eye contact, over-detailed answers to simple questions.
Take your dad if he's happy to go. He may still be able to offer some useful insights. Try not to stress about it too much, though. Be yourself. They know what to look for.
Check out the 'Adult' tab here if you haven't already...
Getting a diagnosis
Thanks for your advice.
Thanks for your advice. What I didn't say in my post was that I mentioned the word 'autism' to my dad yesterday he got a bit hostile/defensive along the lines of 'you're perfectly normal'. Knowing my dad as I do I suspect that reaction was due to somehow thinking it was his fault. I tried explaining it was a spectrum and that I thought I was at the mild end of it but it got a bit awkward until we changed the conversation. I am pretty sure he will be supportive but it wasn't the reaction I was hoping for! I suppose I did surprise him a little with it but it had come up in conversation so it felt a good time to mention it.
With your dad's hostility to the idea I was thinking you maybe need to get him used to it (and the fact it was nothing to do with anything he did) before you go to the appointment. I was thinking maybe just mention it now and then as being a normal part of your life. That might help him to get used to it so at least he doesn't totally reject it if he's put in front of the assessor. Good luck with the diagnosis.
I sympathise with your situation as I also won't be able to bring a parent with me to the assessment.
Here's a post I made a while ago with a similar question about parental input, and lots of people provided helpful replies. I hope reading these might help: https://community.autism.org.uk/f/adults-on-the-autistic-spectrum/12458/diagnosis-experiences
I declined to give details of my parents and it was not an issue at all. My assessor asked me questions about my childhood, and again wasn't too concerned I couldn't answer some of them. I assumed this was because she had enough evidence from just talking to me!
I didn't take either of my parents to my appointments as they had both already passed away, my Mum just 3 months prior to my first of three 1 hour assessments. It wasn't a problem though and the psych was happy enough for my wife to come along and give her input even though we have only known each other 17 years and I was 52 at the time. I got my positive diagnosis via the NHS last December.
Thanks for all the help guys! I have booked an appointment with my GP, sounds like getting them to refer you is the hard part! I was looking at the AQ/EQ tests online from the autism research centre, but couldn't work out what was a 'high' score, possibly because looking from my phone rather than a PC. Will take a look again when I am back at work.
On the AQ, scores above 30 are usually indicative.