of my autism diagnosis from 2019.
It finally came in the mail yesterday. I had waited in anticipation for months.
Earlier in the blog I have been telling the story of my struggle for diagnosis. Finally the last bit has fallen into place. It is finished. I have papers now that say a professional has diagnosed me as autistic at just short ( 3 days) of my 68th birthday.
Last visit with the psychologist was the last day of September. He promised at that time to have a written report finished and to me within a few weeks. I waited a couple of weeks before I inquired at the office.. I had not got a bill, I had not got a report from the doctor… I was told that my bill had been sent to insurance and to wait until we heard from them before asking again. I got a call from the Doctor saying he had had a relapse and that he would get the report to me before long, certainly before the end of the year. I felt terrible that he was under pressure to finish this when his health condition is so severe. I waited in growing distress about his health and about gaining the paperwork to finally make myself completely “official”. I did not want to pressure him or add to Dr’s struggles which must be overwhelming and so sad for him and all his loved ones… but I still was anxious about seeing the final report.
There was a fat envelope in my mailbox when we got home from grocery shopping yesterday. 5 pages summarizing both visits and the doctor’s observations, the way I presented myself at the interview and subsequent testing results, all there for me to see in black and white.
There were terms I was not familiar with, and I looked them all up, thought I would repeat them here so everybody can understand them. I knew about ‘flat effect’ but was surprised that he mentioned that I present with flat effect. I had no idea! Flat effect is lack of expressiveness in facial or body movements (reflecting emotions) and can also mean flat tone of voice or odd expression or inflection of voice when speaking.
He said I did poorly on information sub tests… I was amazed at how poorly I scored in visual processing, auditory processing, and he mentioned visual-spatial struggles, motor and sensory struggles.
He said I had ‘cognitive impairment” with these 2 categories. It means I have struggles to understand , something that has been with me all of my life.
I have been aware I had struggles, but the very low scores in both visual processing ( 25th percentile) and audio processing ( 34th percentile) was a bit of a shock… Those scores are very low! I was stunned for an hour or two, and my primary reaction now is to wonder how I have lived life and done as well as I have in spite of those handicaps.
The answer of course, is because I am very good with words. My vocabulary and verbal comprehension came out at 98th percentile… My ability to use and understand words is my real strength.
These things are all things I had understood before and at the time of my tests and diagnosis, but I would like to point out how extremely different my scores were on these tests, either I was quite good, or I was very very bad. One of the primary descriptions of autism’s effects is that it causes uneven neurological development. I’d say this report is a good example to illustrate that description.
I am of high average intelligence and there is absolutely no doubt I am autistic.
I was interested that the doctor said if Asperger’s diagnosis was still in use, that is the category I would fall into. But as DSM 5 does not offer that choice, I am autism level 1. I am autistic
I am so grateful to have my diagnosis through the generous work of the kind doctor; in spite of his failing health and his own personal troubles, he took the time to see my plight and to reach out to me to complete my report. I am to be his final diagnosis. He retired in July of 2019 due to his health, but he offered to work with me for a diagnosis after that. Now the work is complete. He has given me a gift I can never repay. Feeling blessed.