How can I prepare for my autism assessment?
You may feel apprehensive or excited about your upcoming autism or ADHD assessment. You might also be wondering how you can feel prepared for your assessment and make the most of your appointment with our clinicians. Our clinicians are experts in exploring autism and ADHD (especially for people who may mask) so please feel reassured that we will complete a thorough and detailed assessment. If you wanted to spend some time preparing for the assessment, here are some tips we would like to share:
Reflect on life periods: Divide your life into sections (early childhood, primary school age, secondary school age, early adulthood and late adulthood). Note down things you remember about that time that might relate to autism or ADHD e.g. (I found it hard to talk to new people in primary school, I was fascinated by animals, and it was all I wanted to talk about, I loved sports and was always climbing trees, my teachers often told me off).
Identify strengths: Understanding neurodivergent strengths is just as important for your clinicians as understanding neurodivergent challenges. Look at the strengths that can be associated with autism or ADHD- what sounds most like you? Do you have examples you can note down? This website provides some ideas for ADHD strengths Positives of ADHD: 12 Amazing Superpowers (additudemag.com) and autistic strengths Autism strengths & Challenges | Embrace Autism (embrace-autism.com).
Consider your preferred environments: Note down and reflect on the environments where you feel most comfortable, settled and confident to be yourself? Who is there, what is the physical environment like (colours, clutter, noise, lighting, business)?
Enlist the help of friends/family: Ask trusted close family and friends if they have any thoughts or examples that might fit with autism and ADHD (both challenges and strengths). It is important to hold in mind that sometimes our loved ones may not know much about autism and ADHD so they may struggle to recall or notice differences. They may also hold a negative view of neurodivergence and may wish to protect you by minimising differences.
Complete questionnaires: This questionnaire explores masking and camouflage in autism, and you can see your results compared to neurotypical individuals and neurodivergent individuals The Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) | Embrace Autism (embrace-autism.com). The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale–Revised (RAADS) questionnaire also explores autism in adults https://embrace-autism.com/raads-r/. We would be grateful if you could send us your completed questionnaire by email to CONFIDENTIALDISCOVERDIFFERENCE@PROTON.ME
Help us to support you: It is extremely important to us that you feel supported and comfortable throughout your assessment so that it is a positive and validating experience for you – if there is anything that we can do to reduce your anxiety and help you feel supported, please let us know.