Difficulty picking who to see for an assessment

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bananaphone
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04 Feb 2016, 10:26 pm

Salutations; I am having a difficult time choosing who I should see for an assessment. A little background about myself, I am an adult woman who was formerly misdiagnosed as Borderline, Bipolar and Schizoaffective - then doctors just had no answer for me. I didn't know anything about autism so it never crossed my mind until I was at a professional event and a researcher pulled me aside to chat. I was discussing my thesis, which is inspired by my troublesome mental health history and how doctors were left with a question mark. She said that I reminded her of her sister (who has Asperger's), which was why she had pulled me out of the crowd to talk.

Curious, I read into it, and was shocked at what I found. I don't want to bore you all with details.

It is difficult to get a diagnosis as an adult, and even moreso as a woman. Most people I was recommended to via resource centers at my school, public health, acquaintances turned me down and said they only work with children and adolescents.

After a lot of research, I found two people. One of whom is a phD and another is an MA (LMHC). I spoke to both, and found the latter more personable and more relevant to me (re: trauma, ptsd in addition to AS), but I'm not sure if she is as qualified and if I do receive and official diagnosis, will it be recognized by my state (WA) and nation-wide? I tried to research this on my own but found no concrete answers; a fellow therapist, who is a social worker, told me it depends on the state.

I tried to call my university's Autism Center but they take along time to reply, and I've already made a tentative appointment with the counselor. Both are women, both work extensively with adults. Another concern is the former charges a few hundred dollars more than the latter. I know when it comes to an important thing such as thing, it is not time to cheap out - but I'd be lying if I say that's not a concern I have.

What do I want out of a diagnosis? An answer to a lifetime of questions, a better understanding of myself and most important, how do I take care of myself to be an independent, functional adult? I already struggle with being overwhelmed by noises and crowds that resulted in breakdowns severe enough to warrant those previous diagnosis. So ... if AS is the case, I would want it to be recognized by the state for accommodations in the future with issues as workspace.

I am not allowed to post websites as a new user ... so here are their names if any of you could look into them, Julie Davies (phD)& Elaine Duncan (LMHC)

Thank you; I appreciate any feedback I can get. I tried to use local resources but they were of little help.



btbnnyr
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04 Feb 2016, 10:38 pm

I googled both people and looked through their websites.
I think both are good options.
It seems that Julie Davies really specializes in neurodevelopmental disorders.
She has experience with adults and with assessments for disability accommodations, so she may be able to assess you and give you advice for how to proceed with getting the accommodations you need for work.
There was not as much detail on Elaine Duncan's website about ASD, but it seems that she is qualified to diagnose ASD too.


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BeaArthur
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04 Feb 2016, 10:43 pm

I would go to the Ph.D. for the assessment and the M.A. for the therapy.

BUT WAIT. Do you have any form of health insurance? Mental health is supposed to have parity with physical health under the ACA. You certainly have enough psych history to warrant seeing a professional.

The reason I recommend the Ph.D. is to strengthen your claim for SSI if you plan to go that route, and also because you may have some "rule out" diagnoses (differential diagnosis) that may make the assessment somewhat more complex.

I didn't find my diagnostician terribly personable, but then I wasn't there to develop a therapeutic relationship - just to get diagnosed. If you can stand the person enough to talk to them, that's all you need.


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bananaphone
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04 Feb 2016, 10:44 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. All I have is Medicaid and I called their help services, they told me they won't cover it. The phD charges 700 dollars whereas the LMHC charges 400.



BeaArthur
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04 Feb 2016, 11:21 pm

I wonder if Medicaid will pick it up if you first see a shrink (or even your primary care doc) for one of your other diagnoses and then ask that person whether they think you should be evaluated for autism. If you call Medicaid and ask if neuropsych eval for adult autism is covered, they'll say no.

The thing is, I've managed to get a lot of services that nominally aren't covered, by having doctors recommend them. Anyway I'd exhaust this approach before shelling out $400 or $700 of my own money.

Is there anyone else in your family - immediate or extended - with diagnosed or possible autism? Did you have any symptoms in early childhood? These two things make the diagnosis more likely, or at least make referral through a doc to get a full evaluation more likely.


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bananaphone
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04 Feb 2016, 11:23 pm

I come from an immigrant family and a culture (Asian) that doesn't recognize mental illness and neurodiversity. I can't say if autism is the case, but there is a history of suicide, substance abuse and very apparent mood disorders, despite them being academically inclined with advanced degrees at top universities. To make matters more complicated, the person who raised me passed away.

I've talked about it with a GP but they kind of just shrugged. The mental health counselor there and the one at my university gave me a ton of names without even checking ... these people only work with children and adolescents. They clearly don't care.



BeaArthur
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05 Feb 2016, 7:25 am

bananaphone wrote:
I come from an immigrant family and a culture (Asian) that doesn't recognize mental illness and neurodiversity. I can't say if autism is the case, but there is a history of suicide, substance abuse and very apparent mood disorders, despite them being academically inclined with advanced degrees at top universities. To make matters more complicated, the person who raised me passed away.

I've talked about it with a GP but they kind of just shrugged. The mental health counselor there and the one at my university gave me a ton of names without even checking ... these people only work with children and adolescents. They clearly don't care.

My experience was similar, in that my GP was willing to refer me (after I presented my "case," namely +++ family history) but gave me inappropriate names. I think she did write an "order" though. Then I saw a Ph.D. who didn't fully diagnose but did send me to someone (in a children's clinic) who could do the diagnosis. It was a lengthy process but I persisted. Both my parents had died by then but I answered some questions about childhood. My spouse also completed a questionnaire.

And you really should be seeing a therapist, needn't be autism familiar, but you're going to need some support. I wish you every success and happiness.


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