Hi, so I am currently considering requesting an ASD assessment from my CMHT as this is something that has been on my mind since I was 12 when I learned what Autism was. I am 20 now and I feel like I want to pursue this however I understand that someone will need to give a full developmental history and I don't know how to bring this up to my Mum. I brought up my worries when I was 14 and my Mum very much disagreed stating I was saying it for attention and wanted to copy friends. I am worried she will still believe this and that it'll effect our relationship. I am just looking for some advice on how to address the situation if anyone has similar experiences.
Hi! Ideally you take a family member along who can give a developmental history BUT it is not essential I was diagnosed without taking a family member with me. That said, as a mum myself I don't think that it should affect your relationship with your mum by asking her to attend the assessment. Why do you think she would react adversely to this?
She reacted adversely in the past. She said I was being irrational and that I was copying others around me. I'm worried she'll turn it on me again. Even if the assessment is negative this has been burning in my head for 8 years. I now work with children with ASD and have helped mark up ADOS's as part of my course. I think I now know enough for someone to take my concerns seriously and I just hate the idea of my Mum being disappointed or ashamed.
No one grows up wanting to be diagnosed as autistic, unless they actually are and are struggling with its impacts. My mother was always quite dismissive of my various health problems throughout my teenage years, and it was only as an adult I was able to get some major diagnoses (Asperger's, CFS, endometriosis, food intolerances). Admittedly, she worked in a hospital so felt she had reasonable knowledge, but nothing compared to what we can find now on the internet.
Unfortunately, my mother has since developed schizophrenia so I haven't been able to discuss my diagnoses with her in any meaningful way, but, knowing the woman she was, I'm sure it wouldn't be disappointment or shame she would feel, but rather guilt for not having taken my concerns seriously at an earlier age and enabling me to access the support that I needed.
As others have said, it's a preference rather than a prerequisite to have a parent provide a developmental history. My father did mine, but by his own admission really couldn't remember all that much (I coached him ahead of time on a few key things that stuck out from my childhood which he had witnessed i.e. that happened when he wasn't at work etc.), and were in direct contrast to my brother's behaviour/responses, who is NT and close in age to me.
Maybe if you could try explaining to her calmly and rationally that you are pursuing an ASD assessment and your top three reasons for doing so. You could then mention that they welcome parental input but it really isn't necessary to secure diagnosis as the assessor will be well-placed to determine this from your self-reported history, experiences and tests so it's no big deal if she'd rather not be involved.
It seems as though you’ve had many years to think through your likely ASD as well as having the work related knowledge and experience to validate your suspicions. I would like to think that your mum would acknowledge your opinions and concerns. Maybe write her a letter or an email to explain/ask, if you’re not comfortable having the conversation face to face? Or, if you really feel that telling your mum would do more harm than good then maybe go on your own.