I’ve waited a very long week to hear the results of my autism spectrum disorder evaluation. Before embarking on the pursuit of an official diagnosis, I was 99% sure I was on the spectrum. But after the first two sessions, I began to have some doubt because I worried that maybe I didn’t present as autistic enough. I worried that the new DSM-V criteria might kick me and my special set of quirks out of the spectrum. I worried that I had not answered the questions correctly or that I had not written enough extra (extra, extra) details in the questionnaires (all those extras seem to point to an autism diagnosis, ironically). If I’m not autistic, What To Do Then?
Because I had read about others’ issues with misdiagnosis, I chose the gold standard in autism evaluation, the TEACCH center one city over from mine. If they determined that I did not have autism, I had to be ready to believe them. They are the experts.
Long story short: the realizations I’ve had in the last six months are justified. My concerns are vindicated. High functioning autism is the diagnosis.
So what does this change? Not much. There aren’t many services for adults with HFA. I knew that going in. But it does help me know that there’s a reason for my issues; it gives me some peace that I’ve been on the right track and that there’s not some other (scary) reason for these things. It will allow me to speak about my kind of autism with more credibility than if I had continued as a self-diagnosed autistic person. Also, it will let people in my family with small children be on the lookout for similar personality traits, gifts, struggles, and perplexities in those little ones.
But back to me:
I feel so much better to be past the limbo stage and to move on. In the last six months since self-diagnosis, I have been through all the standard stages of grief. I’ve even gotten to the point that I can laugh at myself. And now, I feel so good to have figured this thing out, thanks in most part to anecdotal writings by people on the spectrum (thank you!).
Whew [great sigh of relief].
I’ve gotten my “certificate.”