What is the process like for diagnosing Asperger's? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-21-2010, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone here been diagnosed with Asperger's as an adult?

I am suspecting that I have Asperger's but I want to persue a diagnoses to be sure. I am wondering if anyone knows the process they use to get to the diagnoses. Does the doc just ask you a bunch of questions and give a diagnoses off your answers? If that's the case, I don't think it will be accurate. I am hoping they test me without me knowing (like silently observing everything I do). Also, how long does the process take? Do they come up with a diagnoses in one session? Weeks? Months?

I have tried looking up the process, but all I found were tests they give kids, and by being an adult, I have learned to overcome some of the things I struggled so hard with as a kid. Is the process for diagnosing children the same as diagnosing adults?

Also, what kind of doctor should I go to for this? Psychologist? Therapist? Shrink? (are all those the same thing? )

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#2 of 7 Old 07-21-2010, 02:00 PM
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We had enormous difficulty in getting an eval for DH. Apparently in all of our county, there is no one really qualified to diagnose AS in adults.

We did find a psychologist who said he could do the eval. The eval, as it turned out, was just a bunch of random questions, not following any sort of formal diagnostic tool or anything, and the psychologist then went by his "impressions." It was all very disappointing and we did not get an AS diagnosis, instead got weak statements like "there's some AS traits blah blah blah but there's also some schizoid traits blah blah blah counseling recommended if you want it".

Sorry to not be much help. I think the first step is to find someone in your area who is very familiar with AS in adults and can do a proper eval. Be careful of choosing someone who says they can do the eval but doesn't really specialize in spectrum disorders.
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#3 of 7 Old 07-22-2010, 12:03 PM
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Also, what kind of doctor should I go to for this? Psychologist? Therapist? Shrink?

To get an asperger's diagnosis as an adult, I would see a psychiatrist who specializes in developmental disabilities. The Autism Speaks website has resources, including autism docs in your area. I wouldn't be shy about calling someone who listed his/her specialty as children and adolescents and asking for an assessment.

At a minimum, the assessment should include the administration of one or more formal diagnostic tools for autism spectrum disorders, and a discussion with you about your symptoms. They will probably give you an IQ test . They might want to give you an MMPI to rule out other pathology.

There are many types of psychology professionals. You really need to check their education to find out what type you're dealing with.

In my state, someone who describes himself or herself as a "psychologist" usually has a PhD or PsyD in psychology. A "therapist" is usually someone who has a masters in psychology or another field that allows them to take the licensing exam to be a licensed professional counselor. After enough clinic hours, they can upgrade the LPC license to LCPC, licensed clinical professional counselor. You can also get counseling from a licensed social worker.

That's not a hard and fast rule, but around here most people who call themselves a psychologist have a doctorate and most people who call themselves a therapist or a counselor have a masters. I've heard masters levels professionals describe themselves as psychologists, though. A "shrink" is a usually a psychiatrist who has been to medical school and has an MD. They usually do diagnosis and prescribing, but around here don't do a ton of therapy or counseling. You can also get drugs from a family doctor or from a nurse practitioner who specializes in mental health.

For day to day counseling, I think talent in counseling and insight matters more than education. For diagnostic purposes, I'd want the best educated person (PhD level) person with the most experience I could find.
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#4 of 7 Old 07-22-2010, 07:57 PM
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Do you have any records from your childhood? Information about how your difficulties and differences surfaced then will be essential, since Asperger Syndrome is not adult-onset, even when it is first diagnosed in adulthood. Any counseling you went through, concerns from past teachers or your parents would be helpful.

It may take some looking, since there aren't a ton of people out there diagnosing adults. I agree with the PP to go with the top qualified person you can for testing. Is there a particular reason you want to know? I'm asking because it may be more worth it to hunt down someone skilled at this type of diagnostic process if you feel a true need for it, for emotional or practical purposes. But, if you just want to know more about yourself, I would be willing to go with more of a generalist, and if it seemed appropriate, self-identify as a probable-Aspie. There are many adults in the Aspie community who were not formally diagnosed, or were formally diagnosed with something else as children.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-22-2010, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have any records of this from my childhood. I knew I was different, but my parents just brushed off any notion that I was different, and just said "You're fine!" I very much wish that one of my teachers would have brought it to my parent's attention how silent and aloof I was, or if they did, I wish my parents would have looked into it more instead of ignoring it.

I want a diagnoses for all the reasons Aridel listed. I've spent my whole life feeling like an outsider to humanity. If I can get a diagnoses, even if its not Asperger's I will feel more confident in myself by knowing there's something about me that I just can't change, so I'll embrace it.

Anyways, I got a recommendation from one of the Autism groups in my area for a place not far from me that could evaluate me. I'll be looking into it. I just wish I knew what to expect.

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#6 of 7 Old 08-05-2010, 03:58 PM
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If you find an experienced therapist, they should be able to diagnose in one session, just via talking. It can be a month or two or more to get seen, at least in my area and we actually have a number of qualified therapists who diagnose. The people I know who diagnose also use questionnaires for the patient, patient's parents or other people from childhood and a partner/spouse. As you've said, many adults with AS do learn coping behaviors and so it may not be as obvious to others as it is with children. However, there are marked AS behaviors that people who are familiar with the AS behaviors can recognize in adults quite easily. And I'm not a therapist, just someone with experience being around adults with AS.

Personally, I think there is a lot of value in getting diagnosed, even as an adult. The adults I know who have been diagnosed have felt relief at knowing the reason they felt "different" than other people. I'd go talk to someone and then decide if you need further help.

Also,this website could give you a starting point:

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.

Jen ~ DD1 (10/2006) ~ DD2 (9/2009) ~ DD3 (6/2012)
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#7 of 7 Old 08-10-2010, 11:07 PM
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diagnostically, you will probably want a clinical psychologist or physician who can administer and score an ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule). it can be give to adults. in addition, self-report questionnaires and some other tests of executive function, language processing (particularly pragmatics) and IQ may be considered. the only profession i know of that would be skilled in all areas would be a Psy.D. or Ph.D. clinical psychologist (b/c a psychiatrist is not typically trained in various areas of standardized psychological assessment).

autism speaks is a good resource.

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