Suspected Autism, Unsure of Next Steps

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ACRnhrd
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27 May 2021, 7:45 pm

Hi, my name is Alex, and I am nearly 20 years old. Someone close to me recently told me that they were autistic, and in order to better understand the situation, I did research. Through this research, I noticed that a lot of it resonated with me, and resembled behaviors I had as a child or still have now. When I took questionnaires and tests online, my scores were consistently in range for showing autistic traits.
I'm still living with my parents, and my healthcare is through my father's employer, so I have to tell them, but I have no idea how to start this conversation. Historically, my parents have not been open to discussions about any mental or neurological problems. Confrontation in general is very intimidating to me, so I need help to decide the best way to bring up this conversation. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you.



Last edited by ACRnhrd on 27 May 2021, 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kraftiekortie
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27 May 2021, 7:59 pm

One way is to participate in a research study dealing with autism.

At least some of them administer free tests to participants.



starkid
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28 May 2021, 3:00 am

Tell your parents about specific (autism-related) psychological or neurological issues you are struggling with and maybe that will convince them to send you to some type of mental health professional or doctor. You don't have to mention autism. People will probably take you more seriously if you mention a specific problem rather than just saying "I think I have autism."

Then you can find a way to bring up autism with the therapist/doctor/whatever. If the person seems trustworthy, confide that you have difficulty bringing this up with your parents and the clinician may help you with that.

You might not have to bring it up at all if you clearly have problems that will convince the person to send you for an assessment. Even if you just have a history of trouble in school/learning disorder type difficulties, that's something that will help a doctor decide to send you for a neuropsychological assessment.

If you are in any type of school/college/whatever, you might be able to go straight to the student counseling center or disability center or school nurse or whatever and mention your concerns and get a referral for an assessment so that you don't have to tell your parents.

Sometimes the psychology departments of large or well-funded universities give free or cheap neuropsychological assessments.



timf
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28 May 2021, 7:01 am

If you have not had difficulty yourself or have observed your improving skills, you may not wish to announce your suspicions. It is the sort of thing that cannot be unsaid.



ToughDiamond
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28 May 2021, 9:19 pm

Hard to know, but if there's no harm in asking your parents, I'd go ahead and ask. Theoretically the worst they can do is refuse. Certainly not worth arguing if it turns out they don't want to know, but at least you've tried. Though it might be better to first talk independently to whatever health professionals you have at your disposal, to see if you can get them to back you. If when you first raise the matter to your parents you can cite the health professional's opinion that a diagnosis would be wise, then it might help to make them listen, if you think they're unlikely to listen to you. I would think they ought to have some respect for the serious, considered opinion of a 20-year old, but not all parents do. And there might be a money issue if the insurance has these co-payment things built into it.

And I agree with timf, that before divulging your suspicions it's good to assess any potential damage that might result from that. Whether to take such steps depends on how much you feel the condition is impacting on your life. They won't usually declare a client to have ASD if they're coping fairly well. If on the other hand you feel the impact is considerable, you might use that as a way into the conversation with your parents - explaining that you're out of your depth with college or career for example might help to motivate them into helping you to fix it. The last thing most parents want is for their kids to fail economically.