In this Ability Life Solutions Video Favorite, Dr. Victoria Hughes delivers a presentation about people who receive an autism diagnosis during adulthood. She answers the question of why an adult may choose to receive an autism evaluation at this point in their lives, and covers the diagnostic criteria for an autism diagnosis. Addressing the advantages provided by receiving an adult autism diagnosis, and the ways in which individuals adjust to that diagnosis, including the support systems available to such an individual are covered.
Dr. Hughes begins her presentation by explaining what Autism Spectrum Disorder is, and the changes in the diagnosis process from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4 (DSM-4) and DSM-5.A key difference is that Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer a separate diagnostic category, and is instead a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is an important change because people with Asperger’s were often excluded from certain benefits and supports
Dr. Hughes then covers some reasons why an individual may not have received an autism diagnosis earlier in life, and why they may choose to seek one in adulthood. Some reasons that an autism diagnosis may not have been given include that an individual may have compensated for some of their limitations through high intelligence, they may have had a well-structured support system, and their autism may have been confused with or overshadowed by another psychiatric disorder. There has also historically been a male gender bias in diagnosing autism, so many females may have been diagnosed with other psychiatric conditions during their childhood. Such an individual may choose to pursue an adult autism diagnosis for several reasons, including the increased awareness of autism in the public consciousness, and the massive impact a diagnosis can have on their lives and the lives of loved ones.
Next, Dr. Hughes covers the diagnostic criteria for diagnosing autism, which are outlined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom. The NICE guidelines specify that one or more of the following criteria be present for an autism diagnosis, including; persistent difficulties in social interaction, persistent difficulties in social communication, and stereotypic (rigid and repetitive) behaviors, resistance to change or restricted interests. Included in the diagnosis process are tests given to the individual seeking a diagnosis, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R).
Finally, Dr. Hughes addresses the importance of post-diagnostic support for individuals who just received their autism diagnosis, in order to help them process it and provide the proper services to serve the individual’s needs.
Autism-A Diagnosis in Adulthood by theretreatyork
Initial Release Date: May 15, 2015
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