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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

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Adult Autism Diagnosis Tool Kit

Milestones provides consultation services to all family members, professionals, and self-advocates. Services include connecting participants to resources and providing general information and assistance. We also offer a free autism helpdesk. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 216.464.7600 or info@milestones.org.

DOWNLOAD THIS ADULT DIAGNOSIS TOOL KIT

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors, and may not reflect the official position of Milestones Autism Resources. The publication is designed to provide guidance concerning the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that Milestones Autism Resources is not engaged in the rendering of legal, medical, or professional services. If legal, medical, or other expert advice or assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Copyright 2021 Milestones Autism Resources. All rights reserved.

Why Adults Might Seek an Autism Diagnosis

There has been a significant increase in adults seeking an autism diagnosis in the last few years. This increase is a result of multiple factors such as better awareness and acceptance of what autism is, including how broad the spectrum truly is.  Medical providers have also gotten better at identifying people of color and females, who were largely underrepresented in the autism community. Lastly, with the changes to the diagnostic criteria, more individuals who are labeled "mild" now qualify for a formal diagnosis. This has created a surge in adults questioning whether they should pursue a formal assessment and diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Adults often choose to seek a formal autism diagnosis for a variety of reasons, including:­­­

  • Difficulty understanding and abiding by social rules and relationships
  • Significant problems with executive functioning and organization
  • Notable sensory sensitivities to sounds, textures, food etc.
  • Difficulty maintaining a job due to lack of neutrotypical social skills
  • Feeling a sense of not belonging or having any meaningful relationships with others
  • Desire to better understand adolescent and childhood struggles

The Difference Between Formal and Self-Diagnosis

When seeking a formal autism diagnosis, individuals may experience obstacles such as finding an experienced provider, long wait lists and high costs associated with the assessment. Before seeking a formal diagnosis, it is important to understand the difference in services and resources that are available.

Because there are barriers to getting a formal assessment, some individuals who not do see a need for disability-based services may choose to claim an autism identity through self-diagnosis. Claiming a self-diagnosis of autism gives people a label that they identity with and can share to describe aspects of their personality or behaviors. Below is a chart that shows what individuals can access with a formal diagnosis of autism or self-diagnosis.

 

 Resource/Service

Formal Diagnosis

Self-Diagnosis

Access to accommodations in post-secondary education

 

Access to services through Board of Developmental Disabilities

 

Eligible to receive SSI

 

Eligible to open a STABLE account

 

Protection under ADA and access to work-based accommodations

 

Sense of self awareness

Access to support groups

Access to online communities

Access to mental health services

 

What is an Autism Assessment?

An assessment for a formal autism diagnosis can be performed by a psychologist or psychiatrist who offers adult assessments. Contacting a local autism agency  like Milestones may be helpful in locating providers in the area.

How to Be Ready for an Autism Assessment (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Individuals who choose self-diagnosis are still members of the autism community. Self-diagnosis is helpful if the individual is not currently insured; however, there is no harm in identifying as autistic while waiting for a formal diagnosis. There are several websites that can be found on the internet with self-diagnoses quizzes – the best way to establish an informal diagnosis is by looking over the formal diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How Milestones can assist you

Individuals who are interested in seeking a formal diagnosis or connecting to resources for those who self-identify as autistic should contact the Milestones Helpdesk to get connected to the most appropriate resources for them. To get started please visit our Helpdesk web page to complete an intake form.

Additional Resources

Guide: Welcome to the Autistic Community | The Arc’s Autism Now Center

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Autism and Race

Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

Asperger/Autism Network

Self-Diagnosed Autistics Are Valid from The Mighty

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Need assistance? Let Milestones be your local guide.

Unsure of where to start? Call our free Helpdesk with your questions, and we will do the research for you!

Call: (216) 464-7600 x200