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I'm 25 and suspect I may have AS. Should I bother seeking a diagnosis and/or help?
Yes 63%  63%  [ 15 ]
No 38%  38%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 24

archaist
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13 Sep 2009, 9:11 am

So a friend sent me a 50-question quiz to determine my "AQ" and it said I am extremely likely to have AS. It makes sense when I look back on my life.

At this point in my life should I even bother seeking a diagnosis? On the plus side, it would give me a better understanding of my own limitations and be an excellent frame of reference when making life decisions, but on the other hand I'm worried it may make me complacent and not try so hard to do things like develop social skills... not to mention, it would probably worry my family if they thought I had a mental disorder (they're not exactly an enlightened bunch, and family reunions are awkward enough as it is).

Did anyone here get diagnosed as an adult? Why? Are you glad?

Thanks for the insight.



cyberscan
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13 Sep 2009, 12:59 pm

I chose no, but I should clarify my answer. If you live in the P.S.A., having an official diagnosis will in many cases make you ineligible for health insurance. It may also exclude you from jobs where insurance is offered as a benefit because of the fact that having any form of autism give insurance companies the excuse of jacking up premiums. An employer may already be hard pressed to continue offering insurance benefits. As far as I understan, it is illegal to ask employees medical questions for the purposes of determining if they are too costly to insure, but that information is easy to find out, and it is hard to prove discrimination. It will also make you ineligible for military service.

If you are seeking an official diagnosis in order to receive some government benefit, keep yourself from being kicked out of your home, prevent being fired from your job, or for some other tangible beneifit, then I recommend weighing what I said in the above paragraph with possible benefits you may receive. If you want help from others with Aspergers or other ASD, then an official diagnosis is not necessary in most cases. The asperger / high functiong autism support group that is hosted at my local C.A.R.D. does not require an official diagnosis to participate. WronPlanet does not require an offical diagnosis to participate inthese forums or for chatting online in the #wrongplanet chatroom.

If you want a diagnosis for your personal satisfaction, please be aware that the online tests are designed based upon the expertise of psychologist and are pretty accurate. You do not need a PhD. to use the tools provided by PhD.'s. I recommend reading online articles about diagnosing autism spectrum disorders and using the different tests provided. Most information from autism societies, univeristies, and other autism specialists are based upon the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that is used for diagnosing disorders.


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Last edited by cyberscan on 15 Sep 2009, 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

nonneurotypical
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15 Sep 2009, 2:51 am

archaist wrote:
... I'm worried it may make me complacent and not try so hard to do things like develop social skills... not to mention, it would probably worry my family if they thought I had a mental disorder (they're not exactly an enlightened bunch, and family reunions are awkward enough as it is) ...

I was quite worried that acknowledging and fully accepting my AS would cause me to stop trying to do more and be more. However, I think I'm beginning to understand and realize just how much time and energy I have wasted in my life trying to be "normal" without really facing how miserably it has made my existance. I think I'm finally reaching the point at which understanding and accepting my limitations and the origin of my limitations is helping me focus on the ambitions that I am well suited to pursue. It has also prompted me to get some help.

Unrealistic expectations that I've had for myself for years have torn down my self-esteem when in reality I have acheived more than what the vast majority of NT's around me have acheived. I no longer need to feel that my lack of success in certain aspects of life are the result of some lack of effort or character on my part (not really having any social friends throughout my entire life for example).

I have dramatically altered my self image for the better since accepting that I have AS, and for that reason I recommend doing what you need to do to be sure AS describes you. Directly paying to be assessed without involving insurance is the one thing I can suggest.

If the reactions I've received from my family are predictive for anyone else, you have nothing to worry about. No one in my family has yet even acknowledged that I actually have AS. They all seem to think it is just in my head (and not in the neurological sense). Plus they have always known I am weird. It hasn't alienated me from any of them any more than I already was.


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peterd
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15 Sep 2009, 4:21 am

There's not so much that getting the diagnosis can do for you, except that knowing the truth can set you free.

No, that's idealistic b-s. Improving your awareness, and the awareness of people around you, of the condition can change some aspects of it though. Dealing with the situation from a position of certainty is a lot more powerful than having your foundations set in sand, as one might say.

I jumped through the hoops in the end because a researcher told me his ethics committee wouldn't let him use my testimony without it. I've always been a bit stubborn that way. As long as you're still trying to get results from your dealings with other people, complacency isn't really an issue. The undiagnosed aspies around me have a much bigger problem with complacency than I do, I think. Mind you, I've been known to be wrong.



Merle
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16 Sep 2009, 1:18 am

Seek diagnosis and help?

No.

There seems to be a lot of good advice here which is useful in a variety of ways. If you weren't diagnosed or diagnosed incorrectly, you'd potentially miss out on a lot of good information.

If you sought help, what kind of help would there be? If someone gave you a puzzle and it was already done, would it be fun? Life is a challenge and how you deal and grow from those challenges help define you as a person.



Mike51
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16 Sep 2009, 3:00 pm

nonneurotypical wrote:
archaist wrote:
... If the reactions I've received from my family are predictive for anyone else, you have nothing to worry about. No one in my family has yet even acknowledged that I actually have AS. They all seem to think it is just in my head (and not in the neurological sense). Plus they have always known I am weird.


I learned about AS many years ago when I had to research my sensitivity to sound in order to circumvent a supervisor's attempt to get me fired for turning off the Muzak at work. Of course, my wife thought I was being ridiculous (she also didn't believe clinical depression was a real malady, even while I was on medication for it, but when SHE got it, it was real enough). It became quite the thing for her and her friends to tease me about, simply because of the name. (Is there any reason Dr. Asperger couldn't have been named something else?)

Regardless, though I didn't immerse myself in it further for some time, I never lost the feeling that I had found the answer to what was "wrong" with me my entire life. Lately, I have been seeking more information on AS, leading me to places like wrongplanet and OASIS. After reading enough discussion, I am now thinking that a diagnosis isn't going to buy me much. My wife will only believe I have AS if I'm diagnosed (I'm not a professional and therefore cannot read and interpret intelligently enough to determine what condition I have). I was under the impression that a diagnosis might give me some armor in difficult situations at my workplace, that is, if I need to negotiate with my boss and HR regarding relocation of where I sit, etc. Now I read here on WP that there are possible negative repercussions regarding insurability due to autism-spectrum disorders, and other drawbacks, and that worries me.

Nothing has yet made me more comfortable in my self-diagnosis than reading what the community has to say about themselves, and how utterly I feel I have met my "real family." Knowing that why I'm different from NTs results from differences in how our brains were wired during development makes me feel less of a freak, less of an individual basket case. I guess it makes me a little less lonely too, although I would be hard pressed to develop a social network of AS friends despite all we might have in common. Weird, aren't we?



Stinkypuppy
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16 Sep 2009, 6:51 pm

Merle wrote:
If someone gave you a puzzle and it was already done, would it be fun? Life is a challenge and how you deal and grow from those challenges help define you as a person.

Very wise answer!


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archaist
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16 Sep 2009, 9:38 pm

I don't have a lot to say in response, but thank you for your help. I appreciate your answers and the insight you've offered.

I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just a little freaked out. Discovering that there may be some fundamental difference between the way you live and perceive and the way others do? It's not easy. It's also worrying to think that my work life may be really difficult somewhere down the line. I've always been clumsy, absent-minded, some people say I'm very "serious" because I get really absorbed in everything I happen to be doing. I obsess over little details, catalog my interests and will talk forever about them. I guess I just thought that's how I was, haha...

But you're right. I guess, no matter what happens, I'm still the same person I ever was. Actually, it's comforting to think that there are people out there who just happen to think and behave the way that I do.

So, again, thank you for all of your suggestions. I really appreciate the insight.



melissa17b
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17 Sep 2009, 4:42 am

While I voted in the affirmative, I feel the need to qualify my suggestion.

You SHOULD seek a diagnosis if:
1. You believe that you are autistic, are not sure, and want to have the independent opinion of somebody who understands autism and has seen many autistic people, as well as many with autistic tendencies who are not actually autistic.
2. You are interested in true evaluation, not just a certificate for what you already believe (or want to believe).
3. You are having difficulty accepting that you belong among autistic people, because you want to be sure that you are not inadvertently minimising the real suffering of autistic people by mistaking a few quirks or struggles for a serious neurological deficit.
4. You will use the diagnosis to further your understanding of yourself and how you work, will accept that some things will be more difficult, and will not use the diagnoses as an "I can't..." cop-out.

Even if these apply, previous posters have described some of the possible reactions to having a diagnosis. Of course, any of these negative repercussions should be considered.

If you are unsure, then keep reading, and keep communicating with autistic people. If the uncertainty still nags you, then you have your answer.



peterd
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18 Sep 2009, 5:01 am

Quote:
Discovering that there may be some fundamental difference between the way you live and perceive and the way others do? It's not easy


See, having aspergers doesn't mean you're not perceptive. Just means that the rest of the world is going to leave you out of its deliberations.



peterd
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18 Sep 2009, 5:04 am

And another thing: I think that the vast, unhappy, silent majority of us who've negotiated the growing up experience with, but in ignorance of, aspergers need to start making demands of the world around us. It's not our fault that the ToM group have made up a set of rules that discriminates against us, and it's about time they started considering that.