The diagnosis of autism in adults can be complex and generally is based on a comprehensive evaluation by a trained professional, such as a psychologist.
In children, an early diagnosis allows for early intervention, ensuring that a child will start receiving the help they need to build their skills. In adults, a diagnosis of ASD can bring clarity and hope after a lifetime of confusion and frustration. When ASD remains undetected, it regularly leads to secondary problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, and burn-out), and can reduce a quality of life.
The diagnostic process typically involves taking a detailed history of the individual’s development, observing their behavior and signs, and conducting tests that assess speech, language, cognitive and social skills. If a diagnosis is suspected, additional information such as family history, medical records, and tests that measure sensory processing can be used to understand the individual’s condition better.
It is possible for ASD to be misdiagnosed in childhood and for a person to reach adulthood without ever being diagnosed. Often ASD is concealed by co-morbid psychopathology (diagnostic overshadowing), and greater subtlety in the manifestations of ASD. Above-average intelligence, an optimal environment, and acquired camouflaging behaviors also make it difficult to recognize the symptoms of ASD in adults.
Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, individuals with ASD may exhibit a few, many, or all these signs:
Even if an adult has been “getting along” with undiagnosed ASD their whole life, a diagnosis can provide a sense of relief, an explanation for years of frustration, and a path forward to a more manageable life. Once the diagnosis is made, a treatment plan should be created that is tailored to meet the individual’s needs and preferences. If you suspect that you or someone you love may have ASD, speak to your doctor or have them speak to theirs. You can also contact Medens Health to explore getting assessed for ASD.
Various ASD questionnaires for adults are used in clinical practice, including theAutism-spectrum Quotient, the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised, the Social Responsiveness Scale Adult Version, and the Social Communication Questionnaire. In addition to multiple questionaries, we integrate ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) and ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised) into our evaluation process. The ADOS-2 is a semi-structured observation of the patient and includes five modules used for the evaluation of individuals with different developmental and language levels. ADI-R is a structured interview procedure used to assess the full range of social and language development. Both instruments are extensively used to assess the presence of ASD in children, adolescents, and adults.
At Medens Health, the ADOS-2 and ADI-R are not used alone to determine a diagnosis of ASD. Instead, we perform a comprehensive evaluation to obtain a full picture of the patient’s life. We may evaluate their developmental history, information provided by parents, spouses, or other people close to the patient, notes from their doctor, therapist, or other specialists, and behavior observed both during and outside of the ADOS-2 and ADI-R administration. By getting as much information as possible, our experienced psychologists can provide an accurate diagnosis and make the best possible recommendations for moving forward.
Based on the data collected, we may recommend testing for other conditions or learning disabilities. This is because some conditions commonly occur with ASD, such as ADHD, anxiety, and intellectual disabilities. We may also want to rule out conditions that can look very similar to autism, such as OCD, Schizophrenia, sensory processing issues, or developmental delays.
At Medens Health, our goal is to be as thorough and careful as possible before assigning a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Our experienced psychologists are well versed in ASD and apply the ADOS-2 and ADI-R with expertise for a highly reliable diagnosis.We are paneled with most insurance companies and will perform a free insurance assessment to determine your coverage for ASD testing. If you or your child are diagnosed with ASD or another condition, our caring psychologists can develop treatment plans, work with your child’s school, and guide you towards managing the condition in the way that works best for you.
If you suspect you or a loved one may have ASD, contact us for Autism testing. Reach out to us by phone or text at (833) 624-5400, send us a message using our online contact form, or to register as a new patient get started here.
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.