Is A Formal Diagnosis Of Autism Later In Life Worth It?
I was content
to remain self-
someone said that women couldn’t
dare to be
myself, now that
I know I'm
The Relief Is
Being aware that
my brain operates differently from others has breathed new life into
were not available
to me without
A confirmation of autism can
be invaluable in a woman's
life, at any age.
Thanks to my
autism diagnosis, I don't feel so
isolated. That was
a long time
me to stop
of who I am
Picture this: A woman drops onto a couch and arches forward, letting out a lung full of air with immense relief. She discovers that her brain is wired differently. She discovers that she perceives, receives, and processes external stimuli and information differently. She finally understands why childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and continuing maturity have never changed her differences. So then begins a profound process of integrating her life from all perspectives. Autism doesn't disappear in puberty, adulthood, menopause, or at any other point in life. Many women experience a sense of relief when they are told they are on the autism spectrum because their enduring inquiry into themselves has, at last, a place. The social whys have a place; the sensory whys have a place; learning differences are better understood, pervasive employment struggles gain context and explanation. The list goes on. Autism is, after all, lifelong.
Autism Comes With Us Into Adulthood
I’m so thankful that
I sought an official autism diagnosis. I feel as though I am a much stronger person now because of it.
Now I know why loud environments cause me physical pain. If I could have one wish, it’d be to control the volume wherever
Due to the misunderstanding
of autism in women,
I sought a formal diagnosis for fear
of not being
My diagnosis in
mid-life introduced me to self-lenience for the very
When I realised I was autistic
so late in life, it was imperative that I found a clinical psychologist who understood that I had built a life around masking and coping strategies. I was lucky to find a clinician who specialised in girls and women on the spectrum.
I've always had trouble processing sounds and speech.
Though I want to connect with friends, even minor social occasions leave
me over-stimulated, yet so tired, and
needing to recover
My autism diagnosis uncovered why I’ve always had trouble processing sounds and speech. Though that won't change, it helps to know
Autism is a Neurological Difference
Autism is a normal state of being for those who are autistic. No one can cause autism in another person. Autism is not an affliction or something to be feared, nor is it something to be cured. Being autistic does not automatically mean a lack of intellectual ability. Being autistic does not imply inferiority or superiority. Autism is a neurological difference, an intrinsic part of an individual, and although functioning levels can vary greatly, only autistic people are on the autism spectrum.
sense of self
is much stronger
I now understand
why I can't process
what someone is telling me when another
Only Autistic People Are
On The Autism Spectrum
caused arthritis in
my hands, and I'm
me free from
trying to be
people seem to take executive function for granted. Some days I can't even negotiate
the steps to make
s cup of coffee
During a meltdown,
I suffered a vocal haemorrhage and couldn’t speak a
word for four
After years of hiding
my reactions, and ultimately myself,
Autism put a name
to my life and experiences
Despite having exceptional hearing, autism sheds light on why I often don't hear my name being called even when the callers are in my earshot
that others bear and even enjoy cause me to flee or melt down. Now that the world is getting louder, I can't go to shopping centres anymore.
Because of my
daily lists are my
saviour. I couldn't live my life with any
To maintain my well-being, I must spend many hours alone
each day without
I feel redeemed to know why I struggle to reply to people in a timely and ordered way, despite always doing my best to engage with others.
My autism diagnosis opened my eyes as to why written communication
is a necessity
Frankly, I used to think the sickening fragrances in shopping centres were lethal. I was annoyed when my favourite hairspray had a change of packaging, and when the familiar store assistant was absent from check-out, it felt unfair. These reactions made sense upon my autism
I view life from the
social periphery - a spectator still, at 50. I’ve never known how to make friends.
My late autism diagnosis explained all aspects of my life, even down to why grocery shopping has never been anything
other than a living nightmare.
I do better socially
when my pets
are with me. I've
been that way
ever since I can
A Formal Diagnosis of Autism in Adulthood Is Relevant
Regarding women and autism, the deprivation of a diagnosis, including the absence of an accurate diagnosis, is far from ideal. Autistic women have been particularly misunderstood due to their proficient masking abilities. Unlike many of their autistic male counterparts, autistic females are more adept at walking through life, hiding in plain sight. Masking may be one of the most significant reasons why autistic females have been overlooked and are, therefore, diagnosed later in life, if at all. Whether a formal diagnosis of autism in adulthood is worth it is a personal question. For some, the resounding answer is yes. For others, the answer may be more problematic. For instance, obtaining a formal diagnosis of autism in adulthood may not be straightforward. One may be hindered by financial barriers, geographical barriers, psychological barriers, opportunity, or struggle to find the right expert who is mindful of the camouflaging and compensatory strategies that autistic women have adopted during their lives to cope with various environs and social situations. For some, receiving a diagnosis of autism as an adult can be a distressing event, as a deep re-processing of one's life occurs. For others, a grieving period may follow. It can be difficult to confront the question, "If I had been diagnosed earlier, would my life be different?"
I'm sure that my mental health wouldn't have suffered as much if I'd been diagnosed earlier
have adapted to me if
my autism diagnosis
had arisen sooner.
I’ve never been able
to secure a job.
Had I been
diagnosed as a child, I might not have been as susceptible to abuse in my
It was autistic burnout that led me to seek a diagnosis in middle-age.
An Autism Diagnosis Is Never Unnecessary Or Too Late
My autism diagnosis allowed me to reduce misunderstandings at haome and at work
Because of our
we feel confident
that our future
After my formal diagnosis I realised why I couldn't find a vocation to which I was suited. I set about developing my own business centred around my strengths.
My autism diagnosis
gave me the confidence to control my surroundings more effectively. My
Autism manifests differently in girls
and women; therefore my diagnosis gave me peace of mind
My autism diagnosis empowered me to live my best life.
Camouflaging may be one of the
most significant reasons why
autistic females have been overlooked
Since my diagnosis, I have read many stories about autistic women and was astonished at how intimately I related to them. I have also been happily involved in Facebook groups for autistic women.
I am grateful to
have finally learned
to give myself
difference. I even know why I'm so sensitive to
A confirmation of
autism has helped me
to fully appreciate how much I have had to
my life due to my
The Newly Diagnosed Autistic Woman Finds Clarity
A confirmation of autism can be invaluable in a woman's life at any age. Frequently, the older a woman is, the more invaluable the knowledge can be. Such validation can help her be less self-critical, relieve one from the burden of struggling in the dark, and provide her with wanted connections to networks of other autistic women, where she finds a sense of belonging. With clarity around why she is who she is, she can foresee and look back to make sense of her past. The long-awaited knowledge can offer self-leniency, self-compassion, and self-understanding like never before. Good news like that is never unnecessary or too late.
My autism diagnosis helped me to realise that I wasn't unintelligent. People used to belittle me for the miniature I noticed. Now I realise they don't see the detail that I do. I revel in my detail-orientated mind now that I
When we received our
autism diagnoses in
adulthood, people apologised. They couldn’t understand why we saw it as good news, yet it put our entire lives into perspective, and all we
wanted to do was
tell the world!
When I revealed my
late autism diagnosis to friends, they didn’t understand the significance. They thought I was attention-seeking. Their negative reaction was disappointing because, at long last, I was able to see that I was perfect as I am.
That alone changed my
Valuable Benefits Can Come From an Official Diagnosis
Should I Pursue an Autism Diagnosis Late in Life?
Autistic women are often invisible. Regardless of one’s stage of life, an autism confirmation means coming into view for the first time, into your view, and the view of others. This kind of clarity encourages the opportunity for you and others to understand.
Prove that your challenges and needs are real
Legitimise your diagnosis going forward
Enable easier access to services
Provide self-understanding, leading to self-compassion
Reduce misunderstandings at home and work
Being Seen is
Allow adjustments to be made to the home and work environments
Help aid daily decision-making and the execution of strategies for future situations
Shed light on past chapters of mental health, no matter how minuscule
Finally, grant the gift of the "right" diagnosis
Reduce anxiety, grow self-esteem and hope, and enrichen one's life
Allow for a change in employment or life direction/contribution
Encourage a better understanding among those closest to you
Improve relationships in general
Re-position an individual to purpose plan for the rest of their life
A Formal Diagnosis of Autism Has Helped Give Us Purpose to Share Our Stories!
Are You Autistic?
Book a Formal
to Know For Sure
me free from
trying to be