Seeking a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)
This resource is to offer you some guidance on what you can expect when seeking a diagnosis of ASC.
There are 3 different pathways for a diagnosis;
- via your NHS
- via Right to Choose
- or you could pay privately for a diagnosis.
This resource is primarily going to look at getting an diagnosis through the NHS/Right to Choose.
We’ve laid out the steps below:
Step 1: See your GP
We recommend seeing your GP first even if you are going down the privately funded route as they may have more advise. The GP will usually ask you to complete an AQ50/AQ10 questionnaire. This is a series of questions looking where you score yourself on different aspects of your life, you can find this online by searching the questionnaire name. It can be helpful to have a go at this before your GP appointment. You could also make some notes on each point as to why you feel they apply to you or for you to have some examples ready. The GP is likely to ask more questions but having these answers ready will help you to feel a little more prepared for the conversation.
Step 2: The referral
If you are going through NHS or Right to Choose then your GP will need to make a referral.
NHS waiting lists can vary depending on area, so before you choose to wait for an NHS referral or to go private, it would be worth finding out how long your local waiting list is.
Should you decide to go privately your GP may need to write a referral letter to the company that you decide to use, depending on what provider you have chosen the process is usually outlined on their website. If you are unsure you can always contact the provider to find out what your GP will have to do to refer you to them so that you go to your GP appointment with all the information you need. Not all GPs will be aware of the Right to Choose route so make sure you go prepared.
Step 3: The diagnosis
Whichever route you decide on there will be an assessment which will go over your mental health, family history and any other health conditions. There will usually be another questionnaire for you to complete before your first appointment. After the assessment they will either tell you in the appointment or send you a letter if you have been diagnosed with Autism.
Diagnosis can cause a lot of different emotions to come up its important to talk these through with someone and you could consider a referral to a counsellor to understand and come to terms with your diagnosis.
Step 4: After Support
Some diagnostic services after post diagnosis support, this might include counselling, group sessions or awareness sessions to understand what your diagnosis means to you. If this is not offered then do ask your clinician if they can recommend any services that you could receive follow up support from.