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Ask AutismBC: I think my friend is Autistic. How do I talk to them about it?

Sep 23rd, 2021

Questions from our Community

An unusual question, but I know someone who I think is Autistic and undiagnosed, they are 62. They struggle with managing emotions, low self-esteem, holding a job, and understanding other people. They think there is something wrong with them and I want to help him see that differently and connect with peers. I’m wondering how I talk to them about it.

A community member asks whether there might be some supports for their friend, who they think is autistic and undiagnosed. The more they learn, the better understanding they have. Amanda answers.

 

This is not an unusual request at all. Often when people learn more about autism, they can sometimes see people in their lives that may in fact be Autistic. It is very common, especially in older generations, to have gone undiagnosed. 

This can be a sensitive situation and without knowing the nature of your relationship I will offer some general thoughts to consider. 

  • What is your understanding of autism, and can you communicate about it in a positive, informative way?  
  • What are the persons understanding/feelings surrounding autism?  
  • Would awareness about being Autistic be beneficial for the person? (Financial supports etc.)
  • Is it possible to start introducing the idea in a general way, watching videos, webinars, talk radio etc. that can create organic opportunities for learning and conversation?
  • If you have identified things that may be helpful, like stress management strategies, can you model those or suggest them without having to connect them to a diagnosis?
  • Are there support groups or other Autistic peers that you can suggest or introduce in an organic way?  

Self-awareness and discovery are challenging for everyone, and a lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis can sometimes come with underlying trauma. In however you move forward keep this persons best interest leading the way. 

A great place to begin would be with connecting yourself with the Autistic self advocate community. They will have some valuable insights and experiences that may help guide your decisions. 

Redefining Autism – Neurodiverse Families in BC 

Autistics United Canada (Autistics & Allies Group)  

The Victoria Autism-Asperger’s Meetup Group  

Autism Vancouver Island 

Autism Canada ASD Central

 

 

From Childhood to Adulthood and Everyone in Between—

At AutismBC, we support people on the autism spectrum from diagnosis into adult years. Recently, we have received an increase in calls for support from adults who would like to receive an autism diagnosis; however, adult assessments are not publicly funded in BC. This lack of access creates a barrier to entry for many individuals. To combat the lack of publicly funded services for autistic adults, we have created programming, including Getting Together on the Spectrum, to encourage a strong sense of community between self and medically diagnosed adults.

Today in B.C. 1 in 40 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis and there are approximately 60,000 children, youth, and adults on the spectrum. When you buy a raffle ticket from the AutismBC Raffle, you are supporting autistic adults, children, and their families and friends! 

Be a part of our mission and buy a ticket now: https://autismbcraffle.rafflenexus.com/a/autismbc-website-

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