I'm 33 (and female, in case this is relevant) and currently waiting for my assessment, which I'm told will be in about 18 months. But I don't want to wait that long to try and move forward and work on myself (both to try and change what I can to have less anxiety, but also to accept some of my traits and not give myself such a hard time about them anymore).
Obviously until I have my assessment I won't know for sure whether or not I have ASD, but I was wondering, is it possible to have ASD traits without actually having ASD? I feel like despite not recognising myself in absolutely all the traits I've seen listed, I do recognise myself in a lot of them, and in a way that affects my life, my emotions, my anxiety and how I interact with people. So in a way I hope they'll say I have ASD as it would explain a lot, and I hope that it would help me feel better about myself, knowing that there is a reason why I am the way I am.
If they say I do not have ASD on the other hand, what does that mean in terms of the various traits that I do have? Is anyone else in the same situation, or was, until they had their assessment?
Thanks a lot for any advice.
I read a great analogy a while back...it went something like this
Imagine autism is a 100 piece jigsaw. Everyone has 6,8, maybe 10 pieces (but it doesn't make them "a little bit autistic"). If you have say 40 or 50, you may well think "ooh am I?" and perhaps seek diagnosis, and you've definitely got autistic traits. If you've got 75-80 pieces, then you'll get a diagnosis.
I really like this analogy (much better than the one about being pregnant)
The problem is how to correct count the pieces (and what if have 40-50 could I say “a little bit autistic” then? Broader Autism Phenotype? Someone in between?)
Yeah I think 40 or 50 would probably get some kind of diagnosis like "has autistic traits" is some such rather than a full on diagnosis of autism.
That's a good analogy, but I would say that it's not so much about how many pieces you have, but what type those pieces are; if you've got a piece of blue sky, a piece of cloud, a piece of grass, a piece of road and a piece of brick wall, then you have ASD irrespective of how many of those types of piece you have. If you have even 60 pieces of sky and 20 pieces of grass, plus a bit of road and a bit of wall you have autistic traits because you're still missing a piece of cloud. But you could be diagnosed with only 5 pieces!
Autistic people are all different because it's so incredibly unlikely that any two of them will have the same pieces of sky, cloud, grass, road, and brick.
This is based loosely on the DSM V criteria where you need 5 types of symptom (A1, A2, A3 plus two out of B1, B2, B3, B4) to be diagnosed as ASD.
So what would it mean to have autistic traits, but not a full autism diagnosis? Are they things than can be worked on, treated with CBT and the likes? Would I be expected to get over them? Or are these traits as serious and relevant as having ASD, but the person just doesn't have all the traits? I'm just trying to think about what would happen if they came back saying I have traits rather than ASD. Because I'm 100% sure I at least have traits. Just not sure what that would do if you see what I mean.
That's very helpful, thank you. Are there any questionnaires relevant to the DSM 5 criteria?
There are a lot of questionnaires around, perhaps the AQ50 is one of the first to try (Google brings up links to it). It is relevant to the DSM 5 criteria but only (as far as I know - I've never thought about it specifically before) via the fact that it looks for the same condition. I can't think of any tests that explicitly and obviously go through the DSM 5 criteria one by one, if that's what you're looking for?
I love that analogy.
Having 4 types of pieces would suck though, being an outcast from both sides.
As for questionnaires-I was sent AQ and EQ to complete before being accepted on the waiting list.
Indeed - I was given 4 pieces following my diagnostic interview & referred for ADOS, then they gave me all 5 :-). The wait in between wasn't pleasant at all.
Good to know, thanks. I've already done the AQ50 as well as the EQ. I was indeed wondering if there was a more specific DSM5 questionnaire. Also I wonder what the difference usually is in the AQ50 results between men and women, since I've seen a lot about how differently ASD shows in men and women (biologically speaking I believe).