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  • Writer's pictureKanan

Should I get an assessment and diagnosis?

If you need to get accommodations (helpful changes) at work or in education to help you stay in work or be more productive then it is worth getting a clinical diagnosis. If you need financial/welfare support then you should also push for an assessment.

If you go through the GP and NHS this is likely to take a while – currently it’s taking years as opposed to weeks or months. There is also a sense of being “dragged through the system” or shuffling yourself from one specialist to another without a solid answer for your symptoms.

If you want a diagnosis sooner then you need to consider a private assessment. These are not cheap, often over £1500, but it is often well worth it. If you have private medical insurance it may be covered.

If you do not need a clinical diagnosis, it’s perfectly valid for you to self-identify. You can totally give yourself permission to make changes in your life that work for you exactly as you are.

Another option is a non-clinical assessment which is cheaper. This is for you if you seek confirmation that they are autistic and for greater self-understanding.

I can highly recommend Sarah Hendricks of Hendrickx Associates if this is what you are seeking.

Misdiagnosis is sadly common….

According to an article in Psychology Today 2019, 42% of women and girls with autism received at least one misdiagnosis before securing an autism diagnosis, one survey found. Considering social camouflaging, anxiety, sensory overload, and depression could help more women secure needed diagnoses

Autism may be subtle and seen as simply “shyness” or “quiet and well behaved”. The repetitive behaviours can be less obvious such as eating the same foods, going the same route, having the same daily or weekly routines, the need for comfortable clothes. The stereotypes of a silent boy lining up cars and the Rainman character has created extremities, a very limited perception, of autism.

ADHD/ADD can be flippantly labelled as “dizzy”, “forgetful”, “lazy”. There exists a stereotype of young boys who are fidgety, bouncing off the walls, loud and don’t stop talking. Women who don’t show this kind of hyperactivity can be missed and have to put up with feeling ashamed about themselves because they are disorganised, life is chaotic, partners feel unappreciated or that they are doing more than their fair share of chores.

Common misdiagnosis or (“comorbidities” ie co-occurring signs)

  • Anxiety (general or social)

  • Depression

  • Bi-polar

  • Borderline personality disorder

  • OCD

  • Anorexia

  • Bulimia

  • Addiction – drink, drugs, tech

  • Chronic fatigue Syndrome

  • Hypermobility/Ehler Danlos Syndrome

ADHD and autism can be mistaken for each other but someone can also have both.

Giftedness can be mistaken for ADHD because a gifted person can present as excitable, appear not to be listening, fidgety or needing to move. The danger exists in being medicated incorrectly and unnecessarily.

At school a gifted child whose curiosity is stifled and not engaged will not want to learn or seem enthusiastic. They may find school “BORING” (in a pained voice). This can result in low or average academic results even though the potential is there.

Twice exceptional kids who are bright but have a learning challenge like ADHD or autism likely won’t get the support they deserve as their ability to cover up their challenges makes their challenges go un-noticed. Gifted/2E kids turn into gifted/2E adults. Without acknowledgement of their exceptionality they can become adults who believe they are not smart despite becoming successful in work, or they can feel very isolated and misunderstood because they think so differently to their peers who cannot match their level or speed of thought. They can lose self-confidence, self-esteem and sense of joy as isolation grows.

Mensa is a good start point to check out your IQ. They have tests that measure intellectual intelligence. However, not all intelligences are intellectual. I personally prefer the more holistic view of intelligence as intellectual, emotional, creative, sensual, physical and existential.

Have a look at my website for some resources that may help.

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