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Advocacy

4 Reasons Autistic Adults Seek Assessment

April 21st, 2023

Aly Laube

For Everyone

Getting diagnosed isn’t necessary for every autistic adult in BC, but it can help improve some people’s personal growth, well-being, and social belonging. Here are four reasons why autistic adults might seek assessment and diagnosis. At AutismBC, we also believe in the validity of self-diagnosis.

 

 

Self-understanding

Someone looking at themself in the mirror with a smile on their face. (Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk)
Someone looking at themself in the mirror with a smile on their face. (Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk)

A diagnosis can provide someone with a greater sense of self-understanding and acceptance, especially when it comes to challenges with socializing, sensory processing, and abilities. Our recent survey suggests self-understanding is the primary reason why most autistic adults in BC seek a diagnosis. A sizeable 94% said an assessment would help them get to know themselves better. 

Many adults were labelled as sensitive or difficult as a child. Now that they can finally understand themselves through the lens of autism, they know it’s a neurological difference rather than a flaw. 

Access to support

A person clasping their hands together in excitement across from someone else. (Pezels/SHVETS Production)
A person clasping their hands together in excitement across from someone else. (Pezels/SHVETS Production)

A diagnosis can also provide access to much-needed support and disability benefits. With a diagnosis, people may be able to use therapies, accommodations, and services that can help them navigate daily life. They may also be eligible for disability benefits that can ease financial stress and offer resources.

Keep in mind that it can be difficult to get this support. Diagnoses do not always come with accommodations, unfortunately. 

Ability to self-advocate

Someone sitting in front of a microphone and looking at notes. (Pexels/Karolina Grabowska)
Someone sitting in front of a microphone and looking at notes. (Pexels/Karolina Grabowska)

A diagnosis can empower adults to advocate for their rights and needs. With a clear understanding of their strengths and challenges, they can more confidently explain what they need to thrive. Just over 84% of survey respondents said an assessment would help them advocate for their rights and needs.  

This can include asking for accommodations in the workplace, at school, or in other areas of life. It might even mean rallying for changes that make autistic people’s lives better within the government or broader society. It looks different for everyone. 

Sense of community

Four pawn figurines in different shades standing side by side. (Pexels/Pixabay)
Four pawn figurines in different shades standing side by side. (Pexels/Pixabay)

Finally, a diagnosis can provide a sense of community and belonging. For many adults, receiving a diagnosis can be a first step towards connecting with other neurodivergent people who share similar experiences. 

It is common for autistic people to struggle with their mental health.  Over 90% of respondents reported anxiety and depression in our survey results. Having a sense of community can offer a wonderful source of support, validation, and acceptance, and can help individuals feel less isolated and alone. And getting a diagnosis can be a meaningful and important step for many adults on their journey to learn more about themselves and their needs. 

However, there are many barriers to assessment in BC that are important to consider. To learn more, read our blog on reasons why autistic adults aren’t getting assessed. 

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