When I peruse forums for AS/ASD, I see the subject of diagnosis come up frequently. People are wondering if they should get one, if it’s worth it, what’s the bother, and so on and so forth. I figured I would go ahead and be very opinionated on the subject.
My basic thought process is as follows: DIAGNOSIS IS IMPORTANT!
Ok, so that is simplistic. The reality is more nuanced, and I get that. First of all, I don’t believe in self-diagnosis. Most of us are not people who work in the mental health industry who are qualified to diagnose ASD. Those of us who are should probably still not diagnose themselves, under the basic idea that one should never diagnose oneself, and we are too close to the problem. So until there is an official diagnosis given by someone qualified to do so, it is impossible to know for certain if we are right. As I have mentioned before, I suspected that I had AS for 12 years before I got diagnosed. The entire time, I was very strict with myself about this. I never knew for certain. I suspected, with varying degrees of certainty and/or denial, but I never, ever let myself be sure. In my highly opinionated way, I think everyone should do that. I could have been wrong.
All that said, diagnosis, especially for people who aren’t children anymore, is kind of a big deal. I don’t know much about what diagnosing children is like, so I’m not really going to talk about that, except to say that it’s very, very important. That said, if you are an adult, it’s a bit different. Getting a diagnosis is time consuming, expensive, and stressful. Often it requires the involvement of parents or other family members, to lend a perspective on your childhood. Plus, it’s difficult just to find a place to do it – it took me years and a rather fortuitous turn of events for me to manage even that much. So in reality, it’s probably only worth going through all that if you actually have some reason to really want to know for sure. For me, 12 years of suspecting but not being sure on top of a lifetime of being odd in lots of different ways and not knowing why on top of various functional difficulties made it worth it.
I guess the only big thing is that I get a little tweaked when someone who is self-diagnosed says “I have AS.” But I suppose that’s my issue, as much as I am convinced I am right. ^_^