Hi all, I have a 9 yo dd who I have suspected from babyhood to be on the spectrum but Iv ignored and tried to manage symptoms on my own (badly). She is high functioning but I wonder if there are any benefits in seeking a diagnosis when she has no learning disability or physical impairments. she is a high achiever at school but I just am worried that I don't have the knowledge or tools for her as she enters her teens.
Without a diagnosis, I would not have been able to access the support I needed to sit my A level and university exams when my sensory issues and phobias became too great for me to sit them in a conventional exam hall with other students. Academic ability alone will not necessarily guarantee an individual can complete their education, and sensory problems can intensify in autistic individuals as they get older and social dynamics/environments become more complicated. If your daughter ever were to hit some kind of 'crisis' point and need immediate support, her diagnosis may help her to access the right kind of support as quickly as possible. (Imagine having to go through the process of pursuing a diagnosis to get access to support while she is in some kind of meltdown because of an unexpected situation.)
I just don't want her labelled. She already feels different to her peers and i worry that a autism label will make her feel worse. Also school have no idea and I doubt that if they had to file a report for multi disciplinary for diagnosis they would concur that she shows no symptoms. She tells me she holds it in all day and then let's it all out (like a hurricane) at home. Biggest issues are sensory, rituals, obsessive interests, poor friendships, emotionally immature (she's 9 but my 5 year old would have more emotional maturity) she has a subtle tick, she is withdrawn at times and very full on at other times. she suffers massive anxiety when we have to go anywhere. Birthday parties are a no go. Any type of change in routine can be overwhelming for her. Yet in school she just goes with it. I'm so lost.
I do believe parents should trust their instincts when it comes to whether or not they should pursue a diagnosis. After all, you know your daughter better than anyone else. The only thing I would reassure you of is this: there's no need to be afraid of labels. We all have them, whether it's disability, gender, ethnicity, tax bracket, whatever. Our labels do not define us. If your daughter is on the spectrum then she is on the spectrum, regardless of whether a clinician puts an 'official' label on it or not. The challenges she will face will still be just as real. Think of a diagnosis not as a label but as a kind of 'passport', a means of getting support should she ever need it. Your daughter will never have to share her diagnosis with her friends if she doesn't want to, and she might end up feeling relieved because she understands why she is 'different'. Some people live their entire lives without needing a diagnosis, some hit a crisis point and need that extra support, and some people need support throughout their lives. Everyone on the spectrum is an individual, which is why trusting your own instincts about your daughter is so important.