Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…
Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism:
Are You Getting an Accurate Diagnosis?
Another problem to consider with diagnosing Asperger’s is that there are many conditions that can overlap with it. Many people will try to self-diagnose their Asperger’s – that is, decide that they have it after reading about it on the Internet or somewhere else – and that can be problematic sometimes they are doing so without all of the right information.
Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Asperger’s
People can think they have Asperger’s when they might really have something else. Some conditions that can overlap or be mistaken for Asperger’s are things like social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, symptoms that result from a traumatic experience (post-traumatic stress syndrome), and so on.
Some highly gifted children, as mentioned before, might show symptoms that seem like Asperger’s, but aren’t. All of these conditions require highly different treatment and attention, so it is important to see a qualified professional who can make the appropriate diagnosis.
Some Conditions Exist Along With Asperger’s
Other times, a person with Asperger’s will, indeed, have Asperger’s and another condition. For example, many children have been diagnosed with Asperger’s as well as ADHD.
In diagnosing Asperger’s, it is not possible to run a simple test. No blood test or x-ray will disclose Asperger’s. After all, Asperger’s syndrome is defined by a set of behaviors. And each person is highly individualistic. All of this makes diagnosis challenging.
On average, parents report first noticing symptoms of Asperger’s by age four. Yet the average reported age for receiving a formal diagnosis of Asperger’s was age 11.
So ensure when you suspect Asperger’s (or some other condition) that you see a highly experienced practitioner. And pay special attention to the following list of conditions that are often mistaken for Asperger’s syndrome.
Conditions that may be mistaken for Asperger’s include:
- Social anxiety disorder/Social phobia
- General anxiety disorder
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome (symptoms that result from a traumatic experience)
Tips to Get an Accurate Diagnosis
- Look for several years’ experience. Ideally pick someone who has many years’ experience with Asperger’s syndrome / high functioning autism. You do not want to be the first person to be his or her client.
- Ensure a focus on autism. Many therapists see lots of different type of clients–only some of which focus solely or mostly on autism. Ideally, select a person who specializes in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.
- Select a person who is “age” experienced. Many therapists have experience with children or teenagers. If you are an adult, ensure that the therapist has experience diagnosing adults.
- What about girls? It is estimated that 3 in 4 people diagnosed on the autism spectrum are males. While there are many theories for why girls are much less likely to be diagnosed, some believe it is because boys express emotions more overtly and the lack of emotion is more obvious while girls are better at “mirroring” those around them. A therapist who has experience with girls is likely better at diagnosing girls than a therapist who virtually never sees girls.
These are just a few of the answers you will need to not only successfully survive but thrive with Asperger’s. If you are looking for additional answers immediately, go to the following site www.AspergersSociety.org where you can get information on several books including our latest book, New Hope for Autism – 15 Successful Strategies Moms Don’t Know.