Ok, this is going to be fairly short. I know I could say, “relax you’ll be just fine”, but I know it won’t stop you worrying. Why? Because the unknown factors ensure that we will always be quite anxious when it comes to something as important as this. I can give you some advice though that may, at the very least, give you a bit more perspective and also perhaps have a calming effect.
I know many of you will be thinking, “I think I have AS, I’ve read all the symptoms and I seem to fit in, but I am not 100% certain…what if…” So STOP right now. The fact that you think you could be and perhaps your child has been diagnosed, a relative or even that you just never fit in and seem to be on the outside looking in are all big clue that you may have AS. If you have looked at the criteria and especially: http://everydayaspergers.com/2012/03/31/day-62-females-with-aspergers-syndrome-nonofficial-checklist/ which is an unofficial list of some character traits for females with Asperger’s Syndrome, that it may help. Not every trait will fit you, just as no two size 14’s jeans ever fit the same. Everyone is slightly different and therefore the traits or the severity of those traits will vary from person to person. A good professional should be able to help unpick all that with you.
I also feel that making a list of traits you feel you may have, how they make you “feel” and examples of those traits in yourself, are a great place for not only you, but also a GP and even a psychiatrist to start. It will help you to self-analyse your behaviours as well as give both the GP and the Psychiatrist scope to see how you see yourself and how you view your environment and how life situations affect you. Again, any issues you feel are relevant will all have different levels of severity, but it is important that they are acknowledged and that the Doctors have a chance to view them even if it is at a later date when they are assessing your information.
I found that starting with any sensory issues was a great place to begin as it set the ball rolling for other traits. I then moved on to social issues, repetitive traits, obsessions, imagination and any issues I had either as a child, an adult or both. I t is also worth mentioning any emotional issues you’ve had had or you feel have effected you throughout life.. It was through this lists and my assessment that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) was highlighted and later diagnosed.
Last but not least when going to the GP to ask for an assessment, I took in a copy of my results from the RDOS online test which can be found at: http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php this helped give me a reason to go and to seek an assessment along with the fact that my youngest was in the process of being assessed as well. It doesn’t have to mean that if you don’t have a child or relative with ASD that you cannot seek an assessment, it was more of a reason why I had looked into it all in the first place. As you can see from my result graph before (below), I scored rather high. And again it just added further evidence as to why an assessment should be carried out. If you find that you struggle to talk about your issues, try writing down how you feel and what you want to say. The GP’s can take that letter as part of their information for your files and it will give you a chance to adjust want you want to say without feeling you are put on the spot or that you may clam up or fear speaking out.
As women and girls, we don’t present in the same way as males do and therefore, our issues are often more subtle, which can make others question the validity of our assessments. But please do not doubt the need. Take someone with you if you need help, if one GP is not willing to listen seek another GP. Having evidence in your hands about your suspicions give you evidence of your concerns and therefore a way in. Never feel like you are alone in this. Many woman struggle to get the help and support they need, but for me, it was all worth the effort. Being proactive in seeking a diagnosis will help you to either deal with any issues you have or help you to a path for diagnosis.