Im Matthew, 37 and I am about to go on the journey to be referred for an assessment. I have known deep down that I do have Autistic traits for a number of years and now is the time to confront it.
My best guess is that I have Aspergers. I function but it takes sooooo much effort. I have read and learned from books about body language, anthropology psychology.
When I am tired, all the learning goes out of the window and I can be a little insensitive. Not an excuse, but it can be difficult.
i know I will have to wait 3/4 months but hey. Can anyone tell me what to expect? Is it questionnaires etc? I know that I hit all the developmental markers as a toddler (walking, talking) but that’s all that my parents can remember. I can remember primary school vividly. Including first year. Is that typical?
Anyway say hi.
Hi Matthew, and welcome!
Being a spectrum condition, autism can manifest in different ways in different people. No two autistic people are the same. However, certain traits and characteristics are pretty much present in all neurodiverse people to a greater or lesser degree. The triad of impairments encompasses it: social interaction, social communication, and imagination (which doesn't necessarily mean that autistic people are unimaginative; it can refer to rigidity of thinking, which comes out in, say, obsessional behaviour, the need for routine, and resistance to change). If you hit all of the developmental markers, it could point to Asperger's. I, too, hit all my markers. In fact, I was ahead of the others during my first year at primary school. It was after that that the problems really started for me.
As for assessment... I was late-diagnosed (almost 3 years ago, at age 56). The traits were first picked up on by a therapist I was seeing. She got me to take the AQ test, in which I scored 42 out of 50 - highly indicative, as most neurotypicals score less than 20. She then recommended to my GP that I be referred for diagnosis. The process probably differs from region to region, but where I live (in Kent), it meant a wait of several months before I had a home visit by an autism assessor. That involved a few more questions about my lifestyle, work, any issues I'd had. After that, I waited around a year for the main diagnostic interview with a psychologist, which took just over an hour. My mother went with me, too, and was interviewed separately about my childhood. The diagnosis came through a couple of months later. So, from beginning to end - just over 2 years. Others may have a different experience. Some decided to go private to expedite the process. For me, the diagnosis has been largely positive. It's enabled me to make sense of my life, and to have reasonable adjustments made in the workplace. Again, others may feel differently. Some, understandably, feel that the condition is a burden. It's caused many problems for me in life - but I try to look at the positives of it for me. I'm comfortable with who I am now, which I never was before.
Check out this link for information on Asperger's...
Also, if you haven't yet taken the AQ test, it's here. It takes less than 10 minutes...
Thankyou for the advice. I have taken similiar tests and taken that one you recommended as well. I scored 41. Hmmm
Yes - similar to me. It certainly works. A few colleagues at work took it this afternoon, after I'd spoken about it. Some of them thought they might have autistic traits. The highest score was 26, the lowest 5! With 41, I'd certainly pursue things if diagnosis is your goal. First stop would probably be your GP, who will quite likely refer you to mental health services - which are notoriously bad at dealing with autism. I got fobbed off by them initially. They simply had no one - not even psychiatrists - with enough understanding. You could try that route, though - and keep on with it if they turn you away. My therapist's testimony was a very useful back-up to have, and in the end I insisted in bypassing mental health services and being referred directly to the county autism unit.
Any thanks for your help. Of course regards social imagination, i look back and think what was normal, blantanelty wasn’t. I never did well with change. It was and is extremely uncomfortable and a source of anxiety. Whether going to school, doing anything different etc.
Same here. Even after years of practice in the workplace, I still struggle with changes to routine. I've only ever really worked 9 -5 jobs with no overtime. That way, I can plan my week properly. Any tiny deviation - such as a traffic jam making me late home - is a cause for grief! It means I have to reschedule my evening, and usually either skip something I wanted to do, or go to bed later. School was just a nightmare the whole way through.
My main issue is with social communication. I don't read body language very well, and I can't do eye contact for longer than a split second. I don't understand a lot of facial expressions. I think this is one of the main reasons that I've never been able to make or keep friends. Another is that I don't particularly want them. Friendships and relationships require time and maintenance, and often doing things that I don't want to do. My time with my interests is more important than anything else.
I must admit doing this, the process is a source of dread. Waking up at night, panic attack’s. I am concerned that my parents remember my childhood differently. I.e they think I was normal, but it didn’t feel that way. For example I didn’t have any real friends, I think I went to 5 birthday parties in my entire asisclence, the pub 5 times. I was more than happy to stay home. It just wasn’t me and I was happy to stay there.
The same. Mum came to my diagnostic assessment to give her side of the story and said my childhood was relatively normal. She admitted, though, that I was 'different' from my older brother as a child. More disruptive. More reclusive. In my early teens, mum and dad tried to get me to go to youth clubs because they were worried that I didn't have any friends. I went once, to please them. Never again. I dreaded parties, family weddings, etc. Never went to the pub in my teens and twenties. Only went to night clubs because I thought it was what I was supposed to do, and the only way I'd ever meet anyone. I never did... and I always hated the experience.
The only thing I would add on to Tom's posts is a link to the Adult Diagnosis information page here on the NAS site, which has a lot of information about the process of getting a diagnosis, what to expect on the day, other peoples' experience of their assessment, and so on. If you're curious about how exactly everything works hopefully you'll find answers here. http://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/adults.aspx
Ross - mod
Oh my God! We are very similar, Martian Tom.
I also struggle with changes to routine. Any tiny deviation - such as a traffic jam making me late home causes me extreme anxiety. It also means for me that I have to reschedule my evening, and usually either skip something I wanted to do, or go to bed later. School was also just a nightmare the whole way through for me.
One of my main issues is with social communication. I also don't read body language very well, and I can't do eye contact for longer than a split second. I don't understand a lot of facial expressions. I also think this is one of the main reasons that I've never been able to make or keep friends. Another is that I don't particularly want them. Friendships and relationships require time and maintenance, and often doing things that I don't want to do. My time with my interests is more important than anything else.
I do not believe this! Most of what you wrote I can write about myself.
I also dreaded parties. I always hated the experience.
I have never visited the pub or a night club. I also thought it was what I was supposed to do but never did.
Am I missing out?