What are the benefits of an ASD diagnosis as an adult?

SuzRSuzR Posts: 3Member Listener
This discussion was created from comments split from: Hi, I'm Violet, ask me questions about ASD.

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  • SuzRSuzR Posts: 3Member Listener
    What are the benefits of an ASD assessment, for mature adults?
  • ArielAriel Posts: 11Member Whisperer
    For me, personally, there were multiple aspects to this. So it's a bit of an essay, sorry.

    A big benefit was my own understanding of myself. I had always considered myself to be quite a self-aware person, but I was only just skimming the surface. Discovering that I was autistic allowed me to recognise who I really am, why I behave the way I do and why others respond to me the way they do. There's an element of self-confidence to it. It's a small thing, but it means so much to me when I notice a social situation going wrong to remind myself "It's ok. You're autistic." The other person doesn't need to know - it's enough that I recognise it, so that I'm not wondering what's happening.

    Then, there is the fact that I am always an open book. Once I believed I had autism, I felt uncomfortable with what felt like a hidden secret. Ridiculous, perhaps, but that was how I felt. It was on my mind constantly and I was noticing all of the autistic things I did, yet on the outside I was still pretending to be the person I always thought I'd been. I would never have outwardly said I was autistic, without having a professional diagnosis, yet I just wanted to be able to speak freely about it. I don't go around shouting about it now - a vast majority of people don't know - but I'm able to mention it or confirm it if it ever comes up in conversation.

    But, primarily, it was for the accommodations. It gives me a reason for asking for accommodations, when I otherwise wouldn't have had one. Two big examples:

    - I've always struggled massively with phone conversation which makes it very difficult to deal with companies that have customer service lines. Even ones with online contact forms often then try and move you to a phone call. In the past I would build up to a call for days, getting myself more and more upset and anxious about it, whereas I can now email and say "I'm autistic. Please can we deal with this by email?". Additionally, my husband is now a named contact on all of my accounts so he manages the calls on my behalf.

    - I struggled with my early career, too - I am the most efficient, reliable and professional worker anyone could hope to employ, but I need frequent small breaks. Nothing disruptive. I just tend to work five times faster than everyone else, but then I will stop and check my phone for a minute, then get back to what I was doing. The end result might be that I'm more efficient than most others, but employers don't like seeing you checking your phone frequently. And, in my last role, I was starting to be expected to answer calls, which obviously wasn't good for me. In addition, management were constantly moving the goalposts or questioning my methods (despite the end result being what they wanted), or moving me from one task to another which cause enormous stress. I ended up going self-employed so I could do things the way I needed (this was before I even suspected autism), but my diagnosis now means that I know why I found the work so hard and, if I wanted to move back into employment, I could look for suitable roles and be open from the start about what I'm capable of, what I'm not capable of, and what accommodations I need.

    FINAL NOTE:

    Autism can affect you varying amounts at different stages in life. I self-diagnosed for a while after realising that I fit with the traits of autism, because life was going well and I didn't think I needed anything. But I eventually realised that life had not gone well when I was a child, and I was only doing so well at the time because I had a supportive husband and could be self-employed. All of that could change again in future, so even if I hadn't used my diagnosis now, it would offer protection in case my circumstances changed - I don't know, for example, how I will cope if I become an elderly person and perhaps don't have people around to support me as often, or end up in a residential home environment.
  • Chris_ScopeChris_Scope Posts: 510Administrator admin
    @Ariel thankyou very much for sharing your story and experiences with the community, I'm sure it will be of benefit to others.
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 32Member, Community advisor Talkative
    That's a really good point about accommodations, @Ariel - I've done the same as you and basically decided to be upfront about not being able to cope with phone calls. I can't get away with them entirely (as a freelance writer I sometimes have no option but to interview someone over the phone), but I feel so much better for just telling people!
  • ArielAriel Posts: 11Member Whisperer
    @VioletFenn - My apologies, I have just discovered that there's an 'Ask an advisor' section, and that this question is in it. I hadn't realised there was a specific section for answers from advisors, oops!
  • MrsLogicMrsLogic Posts: 42Member Whisperer
    I don't regret getting a diagnosis at the age of 39 - it's helped me understand myself so much better than before.
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 32Member, Community advisor Talkative
    Ahahaha, no worries at all, @Ariel ;)

  • davidj49davidj49 Posts: 42Member Whisperer
    SuzR said:
    What are the benefits of an ASD assessment, for mature adults?
    The benefit is that it explains everything. Why life maybe hasn't  gone to plan, why jobs are difficult to hold on to, and why friendships are so awkward, why you may prefer to be on your own at times when others love to be around friends and strangers.Why eating is a ritual and phones ringing are the stuff of nightmares.

    An Autism assessment is a Godsend.
  • SuzRSuzR Posts: 3Member Listener
    edited February 17
    Thanks for the answers.
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