Why pursue a diagnosis
If you’re an adult, pursuing an autism diagnosis is a personal choice.
Most autistic adults say it has helped them to understand their own difficulties and abilities. Diagnosis can often bring a sense of relief — finally there's an explanation for always feeling ‘different’. Confidence can come from finally seeing their social challenges as part of their condition instead of personal failing.
Diagnosis may also bring with it better financial and practical support. For some this may mean access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Others may qualify for specialised mental health services or supports in the workplace or while studying at university or TAFE.
Some enlightened employers, particularly in the information technology sector, are realising the potential benefits of employing people with autism.
Diagnosis also creates opportunities to connect with other autistic adults and foster new friendships and support networks. There are many online support groups, which allow people to share experiences while avoiding the anxieties of face-to-face interactions.
Even so, some adults may question whether they need a diagnosis later in life. Some people self-identify as autistic without receiving an official diagnosis. Self-diagnosis in the adult autism community is widely accepted. You can join a support group or get together with other autistic adults without a formal diagnosis.