Autism Diagnosis at 16

Our daughter has recently been diagnosed as ASD, probably Aspergers at the age of 16.

We never suspected this and it came as a complete surprise when a counsellor our daughter was seeing suggested she might be on the spectrum.

I've worked with children on the spectrum and didn't for one minute consider my child might be ASD.

Went through CAMHS process, convinced that at most they would say she had autistic traits however they offered her a diagnosis.

I find myself questioning how we got to this position and feeling the need to justify the diagnosis to people I know. 

Anyone else felt like this?

  • Hi my daughter was also diagnosed just after her 16th birthday whilst an inpatient for anorexia. Before the anorexia she had always had anxieties but it never occurred to me she had ASD.  However, since the diagnosis I have noticed more classic ASD traits and I sense it has come as a relief to her that she can now just be herself without having to try and mimic all the social 'rules'.  Retrospectively I can see the traits of ASD in my daughter but we have no experience of ASD and I suspect our vision would be clouded by the stereotypical image of autism so wouldn't recognise the subtler traits. What I'm trying to say is that although our daughter had anxieties and was stubborn beyond belief to us she was just our lovely stubborn and complex, quirky daughter.  That is still the case obviously as we love her unconditionally but the ASD explains so many things (not least her anorexia, which has seen her admitted as an inpatient for 17 months) and the diagnosis has enabled us to get additional help for at college and also changed the way her medical team are treating her anorexia.

    Until my daughter entered her teenage years she coped very well.  She probably relied on her one very close friend to help her negotiate social situations, which aren't so complex as young children.   When she moved to secondary school and all the other girls hit puberty my daughter got left behind.  She just didn't get she everyone was suddenly interested in clothes, makeup and boys.  She had no interest in what the other teens did and couldn't follow the complicated teenage relationships.  She crashed massively with a severe eating disorder.

    The message I'm teething to convey though is that for us the diagnosis is a positive thing (my daughter has readily accepted it).  It has enabled us to understand her better and modify how we approach things.  Although she is still fighting anorexia in the long run I think it will help her understand how she got to this point and how to deal with this in the future.  I am trying to look forward to a better future for her now she has this diagnosis.   A label is just a label but if it means being able to access additional help then it can only be positive.  You do have to disclose the diagnosis to anyone if you don't want to.  Best wishes.

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