- Do you struggle to understand others and fit in socially?
- Find the world chaotic and messy when you prefer control and organisation?
- Have others suggested you might be on the spectrum?
An autism assessment can be a helpful next step.
What is adult autism?
'Autism spectrum disorder', or 'ASD', is an umbrella term for a wide range of neurodiverse profiles, all sharing core traits of:
- difficulties with social communication and interaction
- repetitive behaviours and set ways of thinking
- limited interests and a tendency to overfocus on one subject
- and resistance to change.
Other autism symptoms can include sensory difficulties (being over or undersensitive to light, colour, or noise), and problems controlling your emotions.
Is adult autism different than children’s autism?
No. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopment condition, meaning it’s always present since childhood. It’s just that, as the word ‘spectrum’ implies, some people have a milder version. Signs of autism can be overlooked as a child being simply ‘unique’ or ‘special’. But then demands of adulthood mean symptoms become more apparent.
Aspergers syndrome in adults
Asperger’s syndrome is one such milder form of high functioning autism. Despite typical issues with socialising and a need for sameness, those with Aspergers have strong intellects and verbal skills that mean they cope better.
If you are looking for an Aspergers test, it can help to understand that it's now diagnosed as part of autism spectrum disorder. But you can still refer to yourself as having Aspergers if that feels more comfortable for you.
Autism in women
Females can be diagnosed later in life because they manifest symptoms differently. Recent research shows girls and women can be better at social situations and hiding their frustrations, meaning their struggles are more likely to be overlooked.
How is ASD diagnosed?
An autism assessment is not medical testing, so you don’t have to worry about any health or blood tests. An autism specialist will observe how you interact and socialise, and ask about your past, including your childhood development and struggles with mental health.
They will use one or more of a variety of diagnostic tools, which generally consist of questionnaires looking at the ways you think and behave. At Harley Therapy™ we use DISCO, ADOS, and ADI-R testing.
Your results will then be compared to guidelines put forth by diagnostic manuals. Here in the UK this is not the DSM-5, popular in America, although your practitioner will know its recommendations. The ICD-10 is used instead, alongside the guidelines put forth by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The benefits of autism testing for adults
An assessment with an autism expert can mean you can:
- finally understand what you have been struggling with
- explain to others why you might seem different
- override any previous misdiagnosis such as a learning difficulty or anxiety disorder
- receive the right treatment plan to help you cope
- qualify for certain benefits and support.
Autism therapy and support post-diagnosis
While there is no cure for ASD, there are a variety of interventions that have shown success in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. These typically address one or more areas of functioning, including social, communication, cognitive, and academic skills. There are also support groups and networks that can help, such as social learning programs and daily skills programs.
Counselling is a recommended intervention, particularly when ASD occurs alongside another mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in particular is often recommended.
It’s important to not overlook support for yourself if you are a family member or partner with someone suffering autism spectrum disorder.
Private autism assessment in London - the Harley Therapy™ approach
Our autism specialists in London Dr Maria Daves and Dr Simon Mackmin provided assessments and ASD diagnosis for both adults and adolescents. Maria also offers post-diagnostic support sessions and relationship help. With a long career working with people with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD), she also works with longstanding emotional and psychological difficulties and acute stress. She has a strong interest and expertise in the special challenges faced by women on the neurodiverse spectrum.
As well as Dr. Daves we provide a roster of talk therapists who work with autistic clients, helping them cope better and improve relating skills.
Why not get in touch to discuss your concerns and get the support you need? Call us now or book online to make a confidential autism diagnosis in London, or autism support in our locations that include Harley Street, London Bridge, and the City, or worldwide via online counselling.
Further reading about autism and developmental disorders
- What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- Signs of Aspergers in Adults - Sound Familiar?
- "My Life With Asperger's Syndrome" - a Case Study
- National Autistic Society's Guide to Diagnosis
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Help Guide