Autism and Aspergers
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Adult autism assessment - Supporting my future wife in her MSc and PhD

JenCoJenCo Member Posts: 115 Pioneering
edited March 11 in Autism and Aspergers
**Note: I would like to apologise in advance for any terminology or phrases I may use which may make any readers uncomfortable. My autism awareness is limited and none of the following is intended to be, in any way intolerant or offensive. Should I get anything wrong please do tell me and I'll update this post and very much appreciate the correction.**

Hi all, 

My fiancee has been wondering for a while now if she might be autistic. She's finishing her part-time MSc this summer and will be starting her full-time PhD after. She works so hard and I'm incredibly proud of her. 

The other day she brought up some research she'd been doing and mentioned she thinks she may be autistic. She was then very surprised (but hopefully not very upset) when my initial response was "Yep."... I think she was expecting shock... but the majority of my family is neurodivergent in some way or other so my first impression on meeting this fabulous woman was "Hurrah! One of my people!"

Can anyone please advise:
- Is my familiarity unfair, should I be more supportive? More surprised? 
- What do I do now? I want to support her and I've advised an assessment is the best way to know for sure. Is it cruel of me to suggest this?
- How did you (or anyone you know and love) react to wanting/needing an autism assessment as an adult?

I'm writing about the most amazing person I've ever met, I love her so much and I want to provide the best support I can. When she starts her PhD later this year I really want to provide the best home and study environment possible. Any help or guidance on any of the above would be so appreciated. 

Thanks everyone

Replies

  • Frankie91Frankie91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Hi @JenCo
     Thank you for your post and it's clear how much you adore your fiance. Faking shock would have seemed worse (I think), and I think as long as you explained your reasoning and reassured her that you love her then there was nothing wrong with your reaction. 
    Are there specific challenges that your fiance is having that have led her to this conclusion? If she is looking for particular support then an assessment is likely to be a good idea. She could do this by speaking to her GP and requesting a referral to a diagnostic team or may be able to access this via the University if they have an additional learning support team. However, if she is not having any specific difficulties then seeking a diagnosis may just be unnecessary stress. 
    Speak with her beforehand about what she would want to gain out of the assessment process and how she would feel if she got a diagnosis or didn't and factor this into the decision about whether or not to request an assessment. 
    Hope this helps and I wish you both all the best.
  • JenCoJenCo Member Posts: 115 Pioneering
    Thank you @Frankie91

    It's not that she's struggling as such, she has coping mechanisms for most things. Her interest came up as part of her studies (applied linguistics) and the more she read about communication, the more she wanted to find out about autism and the more I think she thought... oh! Not a lightbulb moment as much as lots of little things making sense.

    This is the thing, I have no idea what benefits an assessment would have. Maybe there are study methodologies that work better for academics with autism that we're not aware of? Maybe there are ways of coping with depression that makes more sense than approaches aimed at neurotypical individuals (she has high functioning depression which she manages fantastically) 

    Basically she puts her heart and soul into everything that fascinates her and I'm wondering if there are ways to do this and keep it up without burning out. Her academia brings her so much joy so I'm supporting her fully in that. I just hope this isn't coming across as me pushing her too hard when I'm cheering her on. I hope I'm phrasing all this alright and not being condescending. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 9,035 Scope community team
    Thank you for sharing this @JenCo, your admiration is clear and I hope we can support you both.

    Have you spoken about it since? It might be good to hear what her thoughts are about it and how she would like to be supported. 

    If she would like to pursue an assessment then that is only way of getting a diagnosis I'm afraid.

    Here is some information about getting an Autism diagnosis as an adult.

    Please do let us know if there is anything else we can do to help. :)
    Community Partner
    Scope
  • LouiseHLouiseH Community champion Posts: 91 Courageous
    Hi @JenCo
    It sounds like you're really proud of your wife's achievements and this comes across as supportive and not condescending or pushy at all. It's great that she has that support and I hope she gets some answers from an assessment, if that's what she decides to do. Feel free to keep us posted on her progress.
    Louise :smile:
    Louise Hesketh
    Community Champion
  • Rhodie72Rhodie72 Member Posts: 16 Connected
    It can't hurt to try this site out as an inkling of what she experiences and I would suggest you both try it individually to compare results.


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