Autism - adults getting a diagnosis

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Have you ever wondered if you're autistic? Finding out if you're autistic could help answer questions that may have bothered you all your adult life.  Autism is a disability.

There are a number of online autism tests, but these vary in accuracy and none will be able to tell if you're definitely on the autism spectrum.

The only way to know for sure is to get a formal assessment from a team of healthcare professionals.

Benefits of a diagnosis

The benefits of getting a formal diagnosis of autism can include:

  • Helping you to understand why you may experience certain difficulties and what you can do about them.
  • When the people close to you understand why you may see and feel the world in a different way and find certain things difficult, it's much easier for them to empathise.
  • Helping you to get access to support and benefits.
  • Your employer may be required to make any necessary adjustments.

Find out more about people's experiences of getting a diagnosis from the National Autistic Society (NAS).

How to get assessed

If you, a friend or a family member think you're autistic, see your GP to request an assessment.

Your GP needs a reason to refer you for diagnosis, so you need to explain why you think you could be autistic and how a diagnosis would benefit you.

Try to give your GP some examples of difficulties you've had in adulthood and childhood in areas such as: 

  • speech and communication 
  • expressing your feelings and thoughts 
  • understanding or relating to other people
  • using your imagination in social situations
  • difficulties in being flexible in your behaviour 

Not all GPs will have an in-depth knowledge of autism, so it's important to explain things as clearly as you can.

What happens during an assessment?

During the assessment, healthcare professionals - who might include doctors, speech and language therapists, and occupational therapists - will want to find out more about you and any difficulties you have.

They may ask you about:

  • how you behave in social situations
  • your childhood

life at home, college or work

After the diagnosis assessment

If you're diagnosed with autism, you may be offered further appointments to discuss your diagnosis and the next steps.

If you need additional help with daily living, you should contact West Berkshire Council’s Adult Social Care team for an assessment of your needs on 01635 503050 or by completing the online Adult Social Care Enquiry form

The decision about your care and support options will depend on your needs and other factors, such as:

  • the effect autism has on your daily life
  • any physical or mental health problems
  • any problems that could lead to a crisis

West Berkshire Council use the information from your assessment to decide if you qualify for support under the Care Act 2014. This means that there is a level of need at which we will offer support - it is now set by the government.  

You will be eligible if you have a physical or mental condition that has a significant impact on your wellbeing. 

You must also be unable to achieve at least two of the following:

  • Feed yourself
  • Maintain personal hygiene (keeping clean)
  • Manage toilet needs
  • Be appropriately clothed
  • Stay safe in your own home
  • Manage the housework in your home
  • See and keep in touch with friends and family and meet new friends
  • Work, volunteer or do education and training you may need
  • Make use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services
  • Carry out any caring responsibilities you have for a child

 Further information about eligibility is available on the Social Care Institute for excellence (scie) website.

If you are assessed by West Berkshire Council as having eligible needs

We will work with you to identify solutions and agree the things we need to do to meet your requirements. We will agree the steps with you and write them down in a detailed Care and Support plan for you. 

Social care is not automatically provided for free, unlike health care.  Following your Care and Support Needs Assessment, you'll be offered a financial assessment along with advice about any welfare benefits that could be available to you to help pay for your care.

How much you have to pay towards the cost depends upon your personal financial circumstances only, and does not include those of your partner.

Some people pay the standard charge for the service they receive, whilst others pay a part of the cost, and some make no financial contribution at all.

If you are not eligible

If you are not assessed as having an eligible need, we will still provide information, advice and agree any preventative actions to help you remain independent.  This might include putting you in touch with other services, organisations and support groups.

Find out more

Find out more about getting assessed for autism as an adult from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

If you're formally diagnosed with autism, you may find NAS information about support and services useful.

The West Berkshire Autism Partnership Board have produced  an Adult Autism Strategy and Action Plan along with a useful information booklet for adults living with an Autism Spectrum Condition in West Berkshire.

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