Why Seek a Diagnosis in Adulthood?
When a person asks whether or not (s)he might have Asperger’s or an autism spectrum disorder (or autism spectrum condition) as an adult, (s)he will often have already gone down several different paths for answers in her/his life and may have received other diagnoses in the past (e.g., ADHD, anxiety disorder, etc.). Many times, other diagnoses just do not seem to capture all that is happening.
Some of the most important benefits that may come from getting a diagnosis of ASD as an adult include:
- Helping the individual understand why some things may have been unusually difficult in her/his life, when those same things have seemed easy for most other people. A diagnosis can help take away blame a person has felt within her- or himself or from others for being different.
- Helping other people in the person’s life understand the person better, such as why the person does some specific behaviors or reacts in particular ways. This understanding may alleviate personal stress or frustration for the individual with ASD and also for important people in that individual’s life.
- Gaining access, if needed, to some social services or accommodations that might help the person achieve his/her life goals.
- Possibly protecting from risk of some types of discriminatory action through use of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What is the Diagnostic Process Like?
Every individual is unique, and there is some variation in every diagnostic procedure based on what the individual person brings to the process. A typical diagnostic evaluation experience occurs in this way:
- An initial email or phone exchange occurs to talk about what you are looking for and why. I may suggest that you might do something else to see if it meets your needs first.
- If you decide to proceed with a diagnostic evaluation, we would meet for about 2 to 3 hours in my office. This visit includes:
- A clinical interview
- Some testing (e.g., the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – Second Ed.)
- Questionnaires for you to complete
- Usually on the same day, I will need to speak to one or more other people who know you well*. It is most helpful to talk to someone who knew you when you were a young child, like a family member. It is also useful to talk to someone who knows you very well now. This may be the same person. This interview:
- Usually takes another 2 to 3 hours
- May include more than one person who knows you well and is important to you
- May occur by phone if needed
- I may be able to give you some preliminary results on the same day, or I may need to take time to consider all of the information I have collected. Either way, we will schedule a feedback session approximately 2 weeks later. This session is scheduled for up to 90 minutes.
- At the feedback session, I will have a detailed, written report for you to summarize the information you and others shared with me. This report will also include a formal diagnosis and a list of recommendations.
* Sometimes it is difficult to identify someone who can speak accurately about one’s early life experience. We can work together to determine the best way to get the information we can in a way that is comfortable for you.
Please contact Megan Farley, PhD to discuss pricing information. I am not currently paneled with any insurance companies. Should you wish to use your insurance benefit, you would need to arrange an agreement with your insurance provider. I will provide a superbill that you may use for reimbursement with your insurer.