What Does My Diagnosis Mean?

Autism Spectrum Condition is a neuro-developmental condition, which means your brain processes, perceives, thinks and responds to people, information and the world around you slightly differently. Whilst the associated difficulties are well documented, it also brings with it many strengths – including passionate interests and an eye for detail. Many people go through mixed emotions when receiving a diagnosis of ASD, so do not be surprised if this happens to you also. You may feel any, all or none of the following:

Relief – at realising there is a reason why you might feel or behave differently to others

Anger – at not having been diagnosed when young and thereby receiving support and understanding

Sadness – at realising this is a life-long condition

Acceptance – this is the end goal, and where understanding of yourself, what works for you and what doesn’t, helps reduce struggle in life.

An autism diagnosis can be hard to come to terms with. It can be difficult to understand what it means or how it will affect your life. You may not know a lot about autism which can make the diagnosis seem overwhelming.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. There is no cure for autism, but there are ways to help you cope, manage and even overcome some difficulties you may experience. People often describe having autism as part of their identity. Aspiration run a 6-session post diagnostic course for newly diagnosed adults to help explain the condition and how it might affect you. For more information or to book a place contact the Aspiration Facilitator on  Tel: 01235 359 388 or email  Aspiration@kingwood.org.uk

Some people find that once they understand the condition, it can help make sense why they struggle with certain situations or experience difficulties. Having a diagnosis of autism may also help your family, partner, friends, colleagues understand why you experience specific difficulties. It might also help them to understand how they can help you with your difficulties.

Having a diagnosis of autism may mean you are eligible for help and support. You may be entitled to benefits and/or support services.

What is Autism?

  • Autism is a life-long brain disorder that is normally diagnosed in early childhood. However some people who have High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome are not diagnosed until adulthood.
  • Autistic people have difficulties communicating with and forming relationships with others, and find it hard to make sense of the world around them.
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder varying in severity and impact from individual to individual, ranging from those with no speech and severe learning disabilities to people with IQs in the average range who are able to hold down a job or start a family. People with autism may also have unusual patterns of language development, narrow interests and engage in repetitive and sometimes challenging behaviours.
  • Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism in which speech development and IQ are normal, but in which social disability can be compounded by depression and mental health problems.
  • Some autistic people demonstrate significantly challenging behaviours; most need specialist support and care.
  • First identified more than 50 years ago, autism affects half a million people in the UK and tens of millions worldwide – and is one of the most common developmental disorders.
  • Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed as autistic than girls.
  • Autism affects people of all racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Further reading

For more information on Autism please visit www.autism.org.uk

You may be interested in the following publications:

Autism and Asperger Syndrome Simon Baron-Cohen, Oxford University Press

Autism, A Short Introduction Uta Frith, Oxford University Press

Kingwood has a lending library with a small selection of books which you are welcome to borrow. Please contact us for details.