So you’ve just been diagnosed with autism as an adult and you’re wondering what happens next?
Autism is a life long condition, which can affect different people in different ways.
If you’re being diagnosed as an adult then you’ve probably travelled a long and bumpy road. You’ve finally got some validation and everything is now starting to make sense.
But now what?
Receiving the Diagnosis
Once you’ve been diagnosed with Autism as an adult, you may just be happy
For some people getting a diagnosis is validation for who they are. For those people that may be all they need. Others may want help and support, to meet others on the spectrum and find out more about Autism. Unfortunately, not all diagnostic teams offer to follow up appointments.
So what’s next?
1. Telling People
Now that you’ve got your diagnosis you might be wondering how to tell people. Or if you want to tell people at all. You may be 20, 30, 40 and you’ve been autistic you’re whole life. A common worry for autistic adults is that people won’t believe them. Telling people is a really personal decision.
Autism doesn’t change you, autism makes you who you are. Some people will accept it and some people won’t. Some people will tell everyone about their diagnosis and that is great. Others may only reveal it to certain people or no-one at all. This doesn’t make them any less proud to be autistic. You may want to tell your employer if you require adjustments at work if it doesn’t affect your work you don’t have to tell them. The same goes for the DVLA.
If you want to find out more about life as an autistic adult there are some amazing advocates you can follow. Thanks to social media you can find some amazing autistic advocates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Every autistic person is different so you make find some that you prefer more than others. They will have some great helpful information but you’ll also find that you can really relate to some of them. Here are a few of our favourites.
3. Support And Services
A great place to start is The Autism Directory. You can pop your postcode into their website and find out what services you have locally to you. Facebook is also a great place to find help and support. Whether you’re a mum on the spectrum, LGBTQ+ or even a cat lover there really is a group for everyone! We recommend our own Chewigem Sensory Support Group the online autism community is amazing and is growing all of the time.
If you have extra care and or mobility needs you can put in an application for PIP (Personal Independent Pay). If you have someone who cares for you they can apply for a Carer’s Allowance if they look after you for more than 35 hours a week. Carers UK has some really helpful information and advice sheets when applying for DLA, PIP & Carers Allowance. If you can’t work you may be entitled to Employment Support Allowance (ESA). ESA offers ill or disabled people financial support if they are unable to work or personalised help so you can work if able to. You can find out more here.
Some bills including council tax may also be discounted depending on your circumstances. The Citizens Advice can offer help and advice with benefits and filling out forms. You can find your local Citizens Advice here.
Just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment, with just 32% in any kind of paid work. Not all autistic people will be able to work but there are many unemployed autistics who do want to work. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an autistic person.
Finding work can often be a struggle even though you may have a lot to offer potential employees. Finding employment can be difficult for many reasons. Often attending places like the job centre can cause sensory difficulties. Speaking to people face to face and over the phone can also be challenging.
If you do get to the interview stage that can also be a very daunting process. The National Autistic Society has some great resources for job searching including information about disclosing your autism diagnosis to your employer.
It’s never too late to get an Autism Diagnosis. There are so many benefits to getting diagnosed with Autism as an adult. Whether it’s adjustments at work, financial help, and support, or just finding out more about yourself. Remember you are not alone and there is lots of help and support out there.
We hope that reading these 5 things that happen when you’re diagnosed with Autism as an adult has helped put your mind at ease.
The Chewigem Sensory Support Group is a great place to share your experiences and chat with like-minded people. If you surround yourself with the like-minded people there is always someone around to help and maybe over time, you will be able to share your knowledge and help others.