Most people associate autism with children, especially when it comes to receiving a diagnosis, but 1% of adults are living with autism. The majority will have been diagnosed prior to adulthood but there are many people who get diagnosed later in life.
While this can be difficult to process and accept, a diagnosis can help you to accept yourself, others to understand you, and enables you to access services that can assist you. Throughout the process of getting diagnosed, focus on your well-being by doing things you’ve always enjoyed and taking time for yourself when you need it.
Mentally prepare yourself before a diagnosis
Even if you’re seeking a diagnosis for yourself, it can still be overwhelming to actually receive one officially. Just like parents do when their child is being assessed for autism, take some time to prepare for a diagnosis and process what that will mean for your future so that it’s easier to accept.
That being said, don’t put unnecessary restrictions on yourself because you feel a diagnosis will hold you back because you can still do everything you’ve always done, just with a little extra help and understanding.
Unfortunately, support doesn’t automatically follow a diagnosis, so knowing where to turn to next for support can be a massive help. It’s also important to consider that you may not receive a diagnosis and whether you’re comfortable accepting that or want to get a second opinion.
Get support and meet other people with autism
Once you have a diagnosis it makes it easier to access different services, but you’ll usually have to approach them first to get things started. Speak to your doctor and look online for services and support groups specifically for adults with autism and you may be entitled to benefits that can help to take the pressure off financially.
Joining support groups also makes it easy to meet other adults with autism who can share their journey and give you some guidance. Of course, don’t forget that there’s usually lots of support from the people who have always been in your life, like family and friends. Whilst they may not understand how a diagnosis feels, they’re still there for you and can support you through the process, even if it’s just as someone to have a chat with like you’ve always done.
Set goals and make a plan
It’s important for anyone in life to set realistic short-term and long-term goals in life. Following a diagnosis of autism, this can be especially helpful if you’re feeling a bit lost or when your existing life plan will no longer work.
Take some time and sit down to think about what you want to achieve in life, when you want to do it by, and if you’ll need any help to get there. Having a plan helps to bring some much-needed calm as it gives you a sense of control and order. Talking your plan over with loved ones, professionals, and other people with autism can help you to identify how to achieve your goals, if they’re realistic, and if there are things you can include that you may have left off.
Getting a diagnosis of autism later in life can feel overwhelming as it’s predominantly associated with children. Alternatively, it can be welcomed as it helps you to understand yourself and access the help you need. No matter how you feel about it, it’s important to reach out to others and set yourself goals in life to stay motivated and live a happy life.
Written by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
You may also like