Adult private diagnosis without GP referral?

Hi,

I'm a 28-year-old woman and I strongly believe I have high-functioning Asperger's - I was just wondering if anyone here had successfully obtained a private diagnosis of ASD without having to be referred by a GP? I'm in the North East but there doesn't seem to be anywhere offering this around here.

My reason for seeking a diagnosis is just to put the problems that I've had all my life into context - I'm not seeking any NHS help or any benefits.

I very much doubt I would get a referral from my GP (or any other doctor) as I'm sure it seems that outwardly I am 'coping' - I have a partner and a full-time job, and a range of (fake) social skills that I have been able to mimic from others, but this is all very much an act which is exhausting to perform every day. 

I also fully accept that my Aspergers is not causing me as many problems as it does for others, and this is another reason that I would feel uncomfortable taking up a space on an NHS diagnosis waiting list.

Many thanks in advance for your help :)

(PS - Yes I know I'm extremely lucky to be able to afford a private diagnosis - I'm only able to afford it because I was left a small amount of money when my alcoholic mother (who I believe also had AS) died last year. I'm certainly not rich by any means)

  • My diagnosis was private.  But that was following failed NHS assessment, which I didn't go via the GP route but via a therapist/psychologist.

    You can just self-refer to a private one, you don't need to get your GP to refer you.

    You can find one via this website: http://www.bps.org.uk/psychology-public/find-psychologist/find-psychologist you will need to make sure they are trained in diagnosing Asperger's though, and particularly in diagnosing females with it as the diagnostic criteria were researched on males and many clinicians are still ignorant about female presentation so you need to do your homework.

  • Look on the NAS website for your nearest NHS diagnostic service, hopefully within your local authority, and ask their advice about going through your GP. If you have them 'in the loop' it may be easier to track a way through, even if your GP initially refers you to a psychologist or counselling service.

  • longman said:
    Look on the NAS website for your nearest NHS diagnostic service, hopefully within your local authority, and ask their advice about going through your GP. If you have them 'in the loop' it may be easier to track a way through, even if your GP initially refers you to a psychologist or counselling service.

    But she wants to go private.  Also, NHS waiting lists are likely to be long and she clearly wants to know rather than stay in limbo.

    OP, you are entitled to an NHS referral, it doesn't matter what your GP thinks.  Take the AQ10 http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13774/59686/59686.pdf and if you score 6 or more, save your money and go on the NHS waiting list if you don't mind waiting an indeterminate time.  According to law your GP has to refer you if you have signs of Asperger's.  It doesn't matter whether he thinks you are functioning well or not.  He's not the expert.  I understand if you want to go private to get it done quicker though, and in my experience you are more likely to get a thorough assessment.

  • I'm another one of those folks whose fooled the world, and myself to a degree, but are starting to see that asd puts much of my life into perspective. 

    Either a private or nhs assessment may help but I suspect that the person you really need to get an assessmnet from is yourself. By that I mean a sence of "knowing" or realisation of the person you are. It would be nice to have some form of formal confirmation but not as significant as your self assessment.

    I'm not trying to contradict the importance of formal assessments but rather to see the value that self assessment has to people who recognise asd when an adult. A wonderful sence of freedom and homecoming.

    Dunk

  • I think self diagnosis only works for a few people.  Most people want the validation and reassurance of knowing for sure.

  • Does anyone know how much a private assessment for diagnosis cost? I think my mum is on the spectrum, she agrees. She has done the AQ-10 test that Intenseworld posted (thank you) and scored 7. She has been diagnosed with aggrophobia and G.A.D (generalised anxiety dissorder), but we believe she is actually autistic. Both of my children are diagnosed with autism so it is in the family.

  • Yes, it costs anywhere upwards of £600, but prices may vary quite widely so when you have checked expertise of the clinician, get quotes.

  • Hi everyone, 

    Thanks so much for all your replies, they're very much appreciated.

    Thanks for that list, IntenseWorld, I'll have a good look through it tomorrow and try and contact a few of the people on there - one of my first questions for them will be 'do you have any experience of diagnosing women with autism?' as I've read so much about the ignorance that surrounds how ASD presents in women. It's so frustrating reading lists like this and ticking off every single one, and knowing that if I was to take that to most medical professionals they would completely discount it because it doesn't fit with the standard perception of autism. For years I thought that I couldn't possibly have Aspergers because I have way too much empathy, not too little - I wish there was more public awareness of how differently ASD can manifest in men and women. 

    longman (and IntenseWorld) - I did consider requesting an NHS referral but decided against it as I'd like to have as much choice as possible over who does the assessment, as I'm concerned that if I was referred to whoever was available through the NHS, they'd tell me I was fine as I don't outwardly display the key 'typical' ASD traits because of my learnt coping behaviours (e.g. I will force myself to hold eye contact even though it makes me feel ill, and attempt small talk, because I've learnt 'that's what you're supposed to do').

    Dunk - I completely agree about the sense of freedom and acceptance that self-diagnosis brings - after stumbling across the article that I linked to above, I burst into tears of relief after finally being able to put a name to what I'd felt my entire life. I can't really explain why a professional diagnosis is so important to me - I suppose I just want to see it in front of me in black and white? It's just a personal thing though, and I don't think self-diagnosis is any less valid.

    tbag - I'll post the quotes that I get for private assessments on this thread so you can get an idea of the likely cost. 

    Thanks again everyone for taking the time to respond :)

  • Just posting here again as I've really been struggling to actually make contact with people who carry out private diagnoses - I emailed a psychologist in Preston (100 miles from where I live) who I found through Google, and she seemed quite promising, however I can't find her on the list of Chartered Psychologists that's on the BPS website - is a diagnosis worthless if it's not done by a chartered psychologist? I've emailed a couple of other places that seemed to be local to me, one hasn't got back to me at all and the other one turned out to be based in Bristol despite the postcode on the BPS search being about 20 miles from me!

    I had a look at the list brought up by the 'aspergers/adults/north east' search linked to above, but I think unfortunately it's a bit misleading as it brings up a lot of people who offer 'Aspergers counselling' as part of the many counselling areas they cover, but few who seem to offer actual Aspergers assessments. Also I would only feel comfortable being diagnosed by a woman, so that's limited my search even more :(

    Would anyone be able to give me details of who carried out their diagnosis, as I really feel like I don't even know where to start looking at the moment. Thanks :)