Getting An Autism Diagnosis As An Adult


Getting diagnosed as an adult with Autism was an interesting experience. In this post, I’m going to walk you through how I received my diagnosis, and what you can expect if you are considering a diagnosis.

Why did I decide to pursue a diagnosis?

I had always felt I was different. I struggled to fit in with social groups growing up. For socialization, I mostly floated between groups. I enjoyed being alone and doing things on my own. As an adult, I have very few close friends, most of whom don’t live anywhere near me. When I was a child, my mother used to tell me I loved to sit there and watch the wheels turn on hot wheels instead of playing with them. I once forgot to wear pants when we were going to the mall because I got distracted. I didn’t even notice until the Taco Bell drive-thru ten minutes later. In high school, I loved debate, but I had to practice speeches in my bathroom until I got comfortable. I would throw up when practicing, so I wouldn’t have that urge in class or at debate meets.

The point is, I realized I was different. Then one day many years later, my wife noticed that our daughter is different and had signs of being Autistic. Where we live, the schools will do a diagnosis for students. So we requested a diagnostic appointment from the school district, completed an evaluation, and sure enough our daughter was diagnosed as Autistic. This was eye-opening because I shared many of the same traits as her. Shortly after I decided to pursue a diagnosis for several reasons.

First, I could get accommodations if I needed them. When I would try to work for someone (to be discussed in a future post) I could request things that would help me be a better employee. For example, I can write code very quickly and accurately. I’ve been known to crank out a project in a few weeks. However, I could request accommodations from employers so that I could help them meet their goals more quickly.

Second, I could get accommodations in public. For example, I hate crowds and noisy places. We would go to the state fair every year, but I hated it. I learned after getting a diagnosis that earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones could make life easier. Sure enough, the last time we went to the fair, I enjoyed it, because I could no longer hear every conversation around me or loud noise. I also realized that our dogs brought me great comfort. When I would get overstimulated or overwhelmed before, I would just find one of our dogs and pet them. The problem was that our dogs weren’t exactly well-trained and disliked being around people as much as I do. So an opportunity came around that allowed me to adopt Nova who was a rescue with much of the training already completed. So we adopted Nova and I trained her to be my service dog. Now when I take her to public places, I feel more confident, can communicate more effectively, and make better decisions. She helps me more than I ever could have realized. However, I could not have done this without a diagnosis.

Third, a diagnosis would mean my wife and I could use known strategies to communicate more effectively. There are many times I genuinely wouldn’t understand what she was saying. So I would reply with “What?” or “Huh?”. To her, she thought I was being offensive, but I wasn’t. Since receiving a diagnosis, we have figured out better ways to communicate, and now she is more understanding when I ask questions.

Finally, even though I suspected I was autistic, I didn’t feel comfortable claiming I was if the words didn’t come from a doctor. Also, my parents or family wouldn’t believe it either. I would genuinely have felt bad if I told people I was autistic, but a doctor eventually told me I wasn’t. So I needed this confirmation to be more comfortable about being open.

Getting a diagnosis is a very personal decision. These are the reasons I chose to get one, but every situation is unique.

The process of getting a diagnosis

The first thing I did was hop on the web and start taking quizzes. Almost every single one said “very strong autistic traits.” I even took the same ones over and over just to be sure. We decided to go get a diagnosis once I was past the “Are you sure?” phase.

Once we had saved enough money, we decided to find a provider that diagnoses adults. If you suspect you might be Autistic, you might have already tried to do this. If you have, you understand how difficult it is to find a doctor that helps adults with Autism. There are plenty for kids, but practically none for adults.

After a ton of searching online, we finally found a couple of places. I went with Spectrus Psychological Services in Bartonville, Texas. Their website is Dr. Williams and her team did a fantastic job. Because there are so few places that diagnose adults, it took us 3 months to get an appointment. Dr. Williams did an intake interview with me, saw some signs, and recommended a full test. We set a date a few weeks later for the actual testing.

The day finally came for the full testing. They told me that I could be there for 6-8 hours and to pack a lunch. It was going to be a stressful day. That was an understatement. I filled out a bunch of screeners, an IQ test was conducted, and I was tested for ADHD with a machine to push a button. These were long, but what got me was the actual evaluation by Dr. Williams. She presented me with a book with only pictures and no words. She told me to tell a story using the pictures as a guide. This felt like I was Superman and the book was kryptonite. I struggled to figure out what the characters in the book could be thinking or feeling. I’m pretty sure I flunked this.

She also gave me some toys and had me make up a story with the toys. Again I felt defeated. I couldn’t figure out how the toys interacted with each other to make a story.

It was finally completed and now came waiting for the official diagnosis. They said it would take several weeks to process the findings and would notify me when it was completed. The day after I was so overwhelmed and exhausted I could barely move. I stayed in bed most of the day. I waited for three weeks, after which time I would log in to the dashboard every day multiple times per day to see if the results were there.

Finally, almost two months later, the results were available, and they confirmed what I already believed. It was confirmed I was Autistic. I honestly felt relief. I felt like I wasn’t crazy. I felt like that missing puzzle piece was found. I wasn’t sad or upset. I was relieved.

If you are a parent of a child with Autism, and you are worried about how a diagnosis will impact them, you shouldn’t worry. I honestly wish that I had known as a child. My life would have been completely different. There are many decisions I wouldn’t have made, and I could have been spared much heartache. In a way, I envy that my daughter will grow up knowing she is Autistic.


Getting a diagnosis was probably the best decision I’ve made. I make better decisions, I can better listen to my body, and I finally feel like I am learning who I really am. If you are debating whether you should get an Autism diagnosis, I would recommend it.

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