ASD Diagnosis for Adults
Looking for Autism Assessment for Adults?
Currently, in BC, there are no publicly funded systems for adults that are specifically designed to assess or diagnose autism; however, you could try a few of the following:
- Look at any private assessment options* that may be available. There is a significant cost ($3000-5000) for individuals to access a private autism assessment.
We are aware of a few, rare cases, where some people have accessed additional funding support for an adult autism assessment. We list them here as alternative options with a disclaimer as these are much less clear pathways to assessment support:
- Connect with your local mental health services and inquire about any support services they may be able to offer. Individuals receiving counselling from local mental health services can sometimes get an assessment paid for.
- Inquire at a local job placement agency—some have programs for assisting with an assessment.
- Contact your local Community Living BC (CLBC) office information and support.
- Connect with peers that may offer support, lived experiences, or other possible options for an autism assessment.
- A family physician or GP – could technically could give a referral to a Psychiatrist who can bill MSP (BC Medical Service Plan) – However, AutismBC is not aware of any Psychiatrist in the province who feels trained or comfortable assessing or diagnosing autism in adults.
Current Private Assessment Options in BC*
Find a Registered Psychologist—BC Psychological Association (BCPA)
Contact Us for an up-to-date list of assessment providers.
Self-Assessment Tools/Screening Tools
Autism Canada – The Adult Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Age16 + Please Note: This test is not currently mobile friendly. Please take test on a computer or tablet with a larger sized screen
There is no standardized process for diagnosing autism in adults. In BC, clinicians adapt the diagnostic measures that were originally designed for children when diagnosing adults and there are four components:
- The first part is a structured observation called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). It is an interactive discussion and diagnosticians get to observe how the individual behaves in social situations.
- The second part is Developmental History. Clinicians talk to a parent, a sibling, a spouse or a relative to gather information about the person’s history. They may also try to gather other records such as school report cards, videos, journals etc.
- The third component is a series of questionnaires for the adult and an informant who knows the adult well. The clinician would ask more questions about their history, their own experience, what they remember from their childhood, and what is happening to them now in the workplace or at school.
- The fourth component is a thorough timeline of the individual’s vocational history. For adults, clinicians are looking to see the strengths and challenges they have in the workplace (Iarocci, 2021).
Why is adult diagnosis important?
Currently, in British Columbia, there is no system tracking the number of adult autism diagnoses. About 2.5% of children in BC have an autism diagnosis, which translates to about 100,000 adults in the province that may meet the criteria for autism. However, a vast number of these adults did not receive a diagnosis as children due to their higher cognitive skills, gender issues and other mental health issues overshadowing what we now know as an autism profile. While some diagnosed adults may apply for Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and Person with Disabilities (PWD) status, the majority of adults seek a diagnosis for personal validation and self-understanding (Worling, 2021).
Getting Together on the Spectrum: AutismBC — Connect with peers that may offer support, lived experiences, or other possible options for an autism assessment.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Autistic Adults of the Okanagan
Mental Health Resources
Autism Mental Health Literacy Project (AM-Help) – Mental Health Literacy Guide for Autism to increase awareness and share knowledge around issues related to Autistic mental health.
Interior Health Authority: Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Island Health: Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Fraser Health Authority: Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Northern Health: Mental Health & Substance Use
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH): Mental Health Services
Autism BC Theme Resources: Autism Mental Health
Autistic Lens: Reasons Autism Self Diagnosis is Valid
AutismBC Highlights: Natalie Engelbrecht and Embrace Autism
In the News
BC’s Autism Assessment Process is Slow and Expensive
Looking for More Adult Resources?
Autistic Adulting — AutismBC Resource Blog
Housing Supports for Autistic Adults — AutismBC Resource Blog
Autism BC Talks Adult Diagnosis — AutismBC Information Session 2021
Autism Q&A: Transitioning into Adulthood — AutismBC Resource Blog
Autism BC Talks with Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) — AutismBC Information Session 2021
Autism BC Talks Adult Diagnosis with Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. David Worling
AutismBC Talks: Adult Diagnosis
Are you looking to get an adult autism diagnosis in BC? Are you weighing the pros and cons between self-diagnosis and official diagnosis? In this video, you will hear two experienced and dedicated professionals, Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. David Worling, give their insider's perspective on the adult diagnostic process. Currently, in BC, There is no publicly funded system for adult autism assessments. To see a psychiatrist a referral from a family doctor is required. However, the waitlists are extremely long, and many are not knowledgeable about autism, and therefore few are comfortable to take on adult autism assessments or autistic clients. Join us for Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. David Worling presentation on Adult Diagnosis: • How common is autism amongst adults in Canada? 4:45 • Why is adult diagnosis important? 23:03 • Are self-assessment tools valid? 35:50 • What are the barriers to Assessment and Diagnosis in BC? 39:41 • Ideas for solutions or Best Practices: 53:00 We will also hear from two Autistic Self Advocates, Alexandria B, and Shayna K as to why they choose to, or not to, pursue a formal autism assessment: 1:06:25 To see Alexandria B interview go here: https://youtu.be/FZ_imitpCmQ
Preparing for Adult Assessment
Autism assessments for adults are not as structured as those for children. The issue with this is that there is not a standard process for adults in BC. Here are somethings to know while preparing for adult assessment.
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