Quite often, I read someone asking whether it’s worth being assessed for Autism as an adult. Given that services for children are rare enough, it all seems too much bother for some people considering there will be no help at the end of it anyway. And if you are dead set certain that you have Autism, then this might well be the case – that there is no point to being diagnosed.
If there is any doubt whatsoever however, here is a little story that may convince you that being diagnosed, is indeed, worth the time, money, and trouble.
Yesterday I had an epiphany of sorts. My husband and I were driving along and we were trying to use the child free time to sort out a few issues we were having, including things to do with our current routine. I was thinking about our routine, and routines in general and my thoughts started wandering to all sorts of places to do with routines, and suddenly I grabbed my husbands arm and said “I have Autism!”
“I have Autism! Of course! That is why this is so fucking hard!”
My husband just gave a slight nod and waited for me to continue. He is such a patient man lol.
Our family routine, quite frankly, sucks. We currently have no support, so we triage what we need to do. Food, water, baths, school. Anything else is a bonus. I have a nice routine filled with some extra bits on the wall, but that is basically a pipe dream. Still, we do have to do better, and I have been trying to figure out a way to do that.
The problem is, I realised last night, that I have thinking about this whole issue from the neurotypical point of view. Find a problem. Fix it. Done.
Yeah, well, my brain doesn’t work like that. It’s not that I’m lazy or not motivated to do better. It’s that my brain doesn’t work like that.
At night, I have a routine of my own. I have dinner once the boys are in bed, watch some television, and then go to bed myself. That is my routine. If my routine is out even a little, it feels bad. It makes me cranky. It’s like… my body telling me that something is wrong with the universe, and while I can not articulate what might happen, whatever it is, it isn’t good. This routine must be kept.
Unless I’m not home at all, in which case, it’s fine. (This explains why new routines for new jobs etc has always been easy – the different environment means new routines are fine).
I am quite educated to the concept that changing routines for children on the spectrum can be hard, even somewhat impossible at times. Small changes must be made. A child with Autism must be given time and space to acclimatise to any changes. Why then did I not consider that the same applies to me?
As pathetic as our routine is, it is a routine. Changing it is going to be hard, if not somewhat impossible, if we try to do it all at once. What we need, is gradual change. Small increments.
An adult with Autism is still a person with Autism. The same rules apply. I’m not lazy. I am most certainly motivated. I have Autism.
And this is why having a diagnosis can be a great thing. It allows us the knowledge we need to not only be a little easier and less judgmental on ourselves when things don’t quite go to plan, however it also allows us to use the same tools as our kids so that we too, can navigate this world which isn’t quite meant for us.