Getting an autism diagnosis

A diagnosis is the formal identification of autism and can be given either in childhood or adulthood.

Being diagnosed with autism is helpful for two reasons: firstly, it helps people with autism (and their families) to understand why they may experience certain difficulties and what they can do about them; secondly, it allows people to access support and services.

Why get an autism diagnosis?

Some people with autism never get a proper diagnosis and still manage to live full and capable lives. However, most people with the condition will benefit from a proper diagnosis.

For someone with autism, receiving a proper explanation of their condition can:

  • bring a sense of relief (for both the individual and their family)
  • allow access to services they would otherwise not be entitled to or aware of
  • lead to a better understanding of how to deal with any problems they may have
  • give their families access to a range of financial help
  • direct them to a range of therapies and approaches that may help them to cope and learn

Coping with a diagnosis of autism

A diagnosis of autism can present great challenges to a family. It may cause the person diagnosed to feel confused, upset, angry and even guilty. It will affect each member of the family differently, but there's plenty of information, help and support available.

Read more information on the support available for those caring for someone with autism.

The National Autistic Society's website has a range of diagnosis information and advice, which includes how to cope with a diagnosis and the effect it can have on families and partners.

For more information on diagnosis for different age groups, see:

Page last reviewed: 08/05/2014

Next review due: 31/08/2016

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Next review due: 31/03/2018

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