Today, awareness of autism is at an all-time high. As an adult, you may look back on your childhood and realize that you’ve possibly had an autism diagnosis overlooked. If you’re a parent, you may have come to realizations about yourself after observing behaviors in your child. However you’ve come to notice the signs, you may suspect that you have autism. You may be wondering: can I, or should I, be tested for autism?
Adult Autism Diagnosis
It can be challenging for an undiagnosed adult to be evaluated for autism. The standardized diagnostics checklists commonly used for diagnosis were designed for children. While there is no diagnostic criteria available for adults, it is currently being developed.
However, it is still possible to be evaluated as an adult. First consult with your primary care physician, share your concerns and have her rule out any underlying physical or medical conditions for your symptoms. Your physician can then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for an evaluation.
Why Get Tested?
While you’ve been successful thus far in moderating your possible symptoms of autism over the course of your life, you may have run into some challenges along the way. A formal evaluation and diagnosis can help you in several ways.
Work Life – An adult with autism may have difficulty with social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication. You may have difficulty making eye contact with your boss, make involuntary noises during meetings or have trouble communicating with your co-workers. These symptoms can interfere with your ability to advance your career and reach your desired goals.
Relationships – Adults with autism can sometimes have trouble making or maintaining friendships or intimate relationships. If you’re in a quiet place, such as a movie theatre or library, you may make involuntary noises such as clearing your throat over and over. You may have trouble in social situations, or difficulty getting along with family or friends.
Everyday Life – You may have repetitive, obsessive or ritualistic behaviors that are interfering with your daily life or social interactions.
Therapy and some medications are available to help you manage and control these behaviors. Getting a diagnosis of autism as an adult can help you find solutions to symptoms that are interfering with your daily life.
Are you or a loved one living with autism? A licensed mental health professional can help you address compulsions or social skills, teach you coping methods to deal with anxiety and help you better manage your symptoms. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW