Are you facing university, college or a new job without a formal diagnosis of ASD and wonder if a formal diagnostic assessment will be right for you?
Here’s a typical story that may help you decide if formal diagnosis is right for you.
Fred is 17 years of age, has been very successful in achieving his grades in secondary school and is now off to start his new life at University. Fred is the oldest of 3 sibling family, his parents have raised all of their children, encouraging and supporting them whenever they needed supported.
Fred has always been a little different from the other children, in preschool he would charm adults with his knowledge of electrical circuits. He was always able to share space with his peer group however there was always a lack of strong connection leading to him not building strong friendships like other children would. Socially Fred could never be described as the life and soul of the party however he was always included in his peer group, although he rarely initiated this contact himself.
Looking back, his parents realise that his friendships were heavily supported by their engineering of social opportunities. They tried to ensure he had more social opportunities by joining him in clubs and by encouraging him to ask one of his classmates over to play in the evening or at the weekend.
In late primary school, a teacher had once raised the possibility that Fred may have some social communication difficulties, however he was managing well academically. In high school Fred threw himself into his work and did not easily stray from a studious pathway, he did not seem to have to bow to peer pressure.
Through his teenage years Fred became more socially isolated, rarely having any social opportunity to engage with his peer group outwith school. Fred began to develop some signs of social anxiety.
Fred was known to be a child who like things to be in order, he likes things to be always the same and had some difficulty when changed happened especially unexplained, unnecessary or at short notice. Small changes like buying a new jacket or his parents buying a new sofa may have destabilising impact on his well-being. The result was a general understanding within his family and also at school that Fred sometimes required things to be different in order that he could maintain calmness.
His parents and his teachers knew him well and they could make the world right for him. He was considered to be ‘somewhere on the spectrum’ but no formal diagnostic assessment was ever undertaken because there was never any need to do so.
But now – he is on the launch pad into adulthood, and the secure scaffolding that has allowed him to be successful from pre-school and through secondary school will no longer be available to him.
- Fred sees the world differently from most.
- Fred needs predictability and certainty to maintain his calmness.
- Fred can sometimes misinterpret others.
- Fred’s verbal communication can sometimes be misinterpreted by others as rude or abrupt.
- Navigating University independently without his scaffolding of support will be challenging for Fred.
What benefits are there to formal diagnostic assessment of ASD at this time and life?
A formal diagnostic assessment of an autistic spectrum disorder will:-
- Help Fred understand himself.
- Health Fred explain his difference to others.
- Help Fred identify how he can protect and maintain his well-being.
- Help others understand Fred’s needs.