Reaction to Diagnosis

I don’t know if it is the same at any age

I have not looked at any studies, but I participate in several autism based groups online. Ideas stated here have for the most part been formed on my own experience with encountering autism, and reported experiences from adults in online groups I belong to.
Each person’s experiences and perceptions will of course be different.

I think it might be a bit more difficult to shift gears as we age. Autism is known to cause rigid thinking. We older autistic folk have had plenty of practice at forming rigid ideas by the time we reach our 60’s.
Is late diagnosis of autism more shocking to those of us who are elderly? I suspect that it is.

As older adults, we have overcome or adapted to many struggles alone.
We have spent a lifetime believing we are “normal” but also believing we are somehow different, incompetent, selfish, bad, wrong, stupid, useless, thoughtless, inept, uncaring, rude, intrusive, hateful, and on and on… a litany of fixed ideas in our older and less flexible brains, learned in our earlier life and more or less accepted as inner truths because we did not know about autism. We have set ideas about ourselves and others and how the world as we see it works.

We may have wondered why we struggled, but learning at last,( although it is sometimes a relief), that autism is the answer, we may suddenly find ourselves scrambling to find a new platform to view our innermost selves.

It is as if the ground we have stood upon for so many years is crumbling.

The foundations of the house we built our ideas on is being torn down.

We will need time to replace these with ideas about our selves and how our diagnosis of autism makes everything different.

Many older people report feeling shocked at first, even though they knew, deep inside that somehow they were ‘different’.
Knowing about autism changes all of the concepts and precepts we may have held about ourselves and our world.
Knowing that we have been wrong in the way we understood almost everything in our worlds, well, that is a lot to digest!


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Let me insert a warning here. Your autism is hugely important to you, but it will be of little consequence to most all of the people around you. They will be likely to react by passing off the information of your self discovery lightly, and assuring you that they still love you etc. .
They will be likely to make ignorant statements about “everybody being a bit autistic” or they will deny it… never mind, don’t argue. Don’t take these things personally. Your diagnosis will mean the world to you, but as in all things, most people will not be able to understand and since it doesn’t affect them personally, most will simply not be very interested. That’s OK. It does not mean they do not care about you, they simply don’t see the significance of your discovery. But they will see the results as you work though your new understanding of your self!


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Learning about our autism is a shock in the way that a sudden loss is… but this is loss of self identity.

Most people newly diagnosed with autism report going through the stages of grief. Shock, denial, bargaining,sadness, anger, acceptance. All appear and disappear, in any order, in rapid transition or slowly over days and sometimes years.
Do not be surprised at your emotional responses to finally learning you are “on the spectrum”.

My major reaction on figuring out I have autism/am autistic was relief. I knew there was something different about me, but had not a clue as to the nature of my struggles or why I seemed to have so many difficulties with things that others seemed to find easy.
I have been grieving in an ongoing way for years, but now I have an answer for that too. I have been sad for the loss of opportunities and things that ‘might have been’. I have regretted so many incidents of the past where I made bad decisions, misunderstood motives, misjudged so many people or situations. I have been angry over many of those things too. Nobody knew!
Feeling cheated of an ordinary life (whatever that is!) and wishing I had known or simply not been given autism as my share in life, feeling extraordinary relief and curiosity on learning how I was different and why… all going round and round inside me.
I bet you will feel similar things and a whole range of emotional turmoil. It is like being engulfed and having to learn to swim. Not a piddly little word, but one with great meaning and consequences “autism”.


Newly diagnosed with autism means loads of emotional homework, lots of looking for new ways to interact with one’s world, and new understanding of so many painful things from the past.
Please give yourself time to process all the new information, the new ways of looking at life and others, the new things you learn about yourself.
It took a lifetime to learn all the ideas that now are being shaken and tested from new perspectives.

Many new ideas will take the place of some old “stinkin’ thinkin’ “. , Many old ideas will be discarded, pains will be dug up and revisited from new perspectives.
I like to say I am a work in progress. My growth in understanding of my world, my self, and everything that applies to these things has been phenomenal. It has been the most exciting thing, freeing, uplifting, a sort of fresh start in a new and better world, to learn of my autism and to learn how to live better through my better understanding of how autism has touched every part of my world for the previous 65 years before I knew, before I began to understand so many answers I found when I found out about autism.


It is my deep hope that the medical community and those learning about autism to apply to professional practices today will be able to help not only children and families dealing with autism, but will be able to diagnose and explain their autism to old people just like me, but who remain still undiscovered and struggling with their Autism without knowing.

Autism Diagnosis at age 68

I will be 68 tomorrow…..what a great gift!
I told my husband when we were leaving the office that after our wedding day and the birth of our children, this was perhaps the most significant day of my life.

I am still processing the fact that I now have an official diagnosis . I have autism and there is no doubt at all.

Spouse and I presented ourselves at the kind Doctor’s office two days ago.
There had been many last minute doubts about whether the appointment for diagnosis would actually happen.
Dr’s fragile health was a huge concern.
We did not communicate well, and missed making contact to confirm the appointment. A last minute phone call found somebody at the appointment desk although the office was already closed.(phew!)
They called the Dr and he called us back to confirm that if he was able health wise, he would come on Monday.
We went downstate to the Detroit area on Sunday afternoon and checked into our motel. Reported to his office at 9 AM , and after a wait (tension building for me! My husband was so supportive!) of about an hour, we got the evaluation under way.

THE PROCESS
Since the kind Dr is a psychologist and not a neurologist, the process of sorting out my autism was quite different.
At no time was a clerk or helper involved, it was almost all discussion and questions/answers.
A few short tests were given to me personally, by the doctor.
I was asked to sort blocks to make patterns and given some oral questions to answer.
I was with the Dr for a total of 6 hours, and my husband was present for almost half that time.
We both answered questions and Dr taught us through explaining as we went, after I answered a series of questions, he explained what he had been looking for in my responses. Each time he explained how my responses helped show I have autism.

To my surprise, he told us he had been very sure of my autism after our initial exploratory appointment in late March.

THINGS I LEARNED:

Dr’s first impressions of me regarding autistic behavior came through the way I spoke, voice inflection, use of words, etc.
He has 40 years of experience, with autism being the majority of his practice. He says he has grown to recognize the distinctions in the way autistic people speak/ use words. Dr says only about 30 percent of people with autism speak.
That is very sobering. I feel so lucky. Words are my only strength.
Feeling so sad for my autistic brothers and sisters who don’t have that gift.

The evaluation appointment was to define my strengths and weaknesses.

Dr told us that a hallmark of autism is uneven neurological development as we grow. If our neurological development lags in certain areas, it is a sign we may have autism.
I never crawled, I have always been clumsy and awkward physically.
I was reading at a much higher level than usual at age 4.
Those are all examples of uneven development, where things that should have developed (neurologically) first failed to, and where other things developed too soon.
Testing confirmed the same pattern.
I have a couple of very strong areas, and several weak ones.
Typical (neurotypical or average) results would have shown a smooth line of development in most areas.
If my test results were put to a graph it would have peaks and valleys with few smooth lines.

Dr remarked that I have a great vocabulary. That was the highest point on my graph.
My weakest were visual processing and processing of the spoken word. I have good short and long term memories. The previous neurological tests I took with such traumatic “diagnoses” actually reflected the same peaks and valleys, strengths and weaknesses.

BUT the kind Dr pointed out, the interpretation the neurologist had put on the results was wrong. Dr pointed out one by one where the neurologist’s test results pointed to autism, how the results had been misinterpreted probably due to the neurologist’s complete lack of experience in work with autism, and lack of knowledge of information that has been known regarding autism in the past 15 to 20 years. (The neurologist simply had never learned more about autism since his college days of the early 1970’s).

One by one, the points made on that neurologist’s report and the negative diagnoses I was given, have been refuted.
How validating and how uplifting, after the devastation to my thoughts, ideas, concepts, and self identity at the time of that first attempt at diagnosis.

Dr pointed out my deficits and my struggles clearly, and showed how the neurologist had missed those struggles/deficits as well.

I asked so many questions and got such clear explanations!

Dr explained that he sees similar speech patterns and use of words among his verbal clients with autism.
He looks for patterns of uneven neurological development.

Most surprising of all to me was his statement that he watches for hints that clients are gathering details, that the smallest details are noted by us and that we are very interested in collecting information regarding those. He showed me a portfolio of art by his many clients over the years. So many of these drawings were made up of small and very specific details! He says that by observation he can see that those of us who are autistic are gathering information regarding details all the time. Dr says it is obvious in interacting with us. I plan to begin to watch the others I interact with to look for this behavioral clue!

He asked me to draw human figures, and commented about my openness and vulnerability. I got the idea that this was also often a characteristic of autism.

Doctor discussed in detail how autism is tied to anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior patterns. I will probably write about these things in more detail at a later time.

I can not express my gratitude enough toward this amazing, kind and extraordinary man!
He gave so much of himself to us in taking time and so much effort in spite of his very serious illness ( and after his official retirement ), to help us by giving analysis and diagnosis, spending so much time helping us to understand how and why he knows I have autism.

A note on one little twist of life, the person who recommended Dr to me was the first adult he diagnosed with autism. I will be the last.

Dr had advice, too, for how I might proceed with my desire to help others in the elderly populations to learn about autism in themselves or somebody they care about.

I will be taking some time off to sift through the overwhelming emotions and whirling thoughts , trying to develop a plan and preparing to go forward with the next step.

Feeling so grateful for this generous and compassionate man who reached out to us and provided the final information and explanations I had sought for so long.

Diagnosis adult autism

elderly autistic version of DSM V for autism diagnosis

This will be longer than usual! I have spent almost 2 years studying and researching scientific papers, books, blogs, and participating in multiple autism (+ Aspergers) forums. I have spent hours almost daily, and have communicated online with hundreds of other autistic people and Neurotypical people as well about autism. I have tried to consolidate what I have learned here in this blog in hope that it will help other older adults with autism, or those who suspect they may have autism.
My intent is to provide “one stop shopping” for information useful to older autistic people (and those who interact with them!).

I now have an appointment to see about finally getting an “official” medical diagnosis.

With that diagnosis I progress to a new phase in my intentions.
I want to present the idea of finding hidden autism in ageing adults to those who work with the senior population. For example: Senior centers, nursing homes, staff in medical facilities, rescue and police/fire workers, hospitals, offices which provide aid to the elderly, etc etc.

I have been working on accumulating information about diagnosing the elderly autistic and learning how we differ from youngsters ( who are the population doctors graduating from school today are trained to identify).

Lifetimes of adapting oneself and masking have hidden many of the traits or behaviors professionals are trained to look at as clues to autism. Eye contact, hand flapping and toe walking which is sought in children may have been replaced by other self comforting behaviors deemed more socially acceptable. We may drink or self medicate with drugs or smoking, we may hide self harm or our other comfort rituals behind closed doors, having learned to avoid being scolded, mocked, punished, corrected, because of them. Current popularity of ABA shows most of society believes that autistic people can be trained to substitute one behavior for another. It is reasonable to believe that after a lifetime of experience we would not show the same autistic characteristics in the same way we did at 3, 10, 20 or even 40 or 50. We will be harder to spot because we have had a lifetime of experience learning “what not to do”.



I used DSM V as a guide and gathered as much information as possible about the descriptions included and how they might show themselves in older folks.

Next, I used DSM V as an outline and began to fill descriptions of these behaviors and traits as ways they could be applied to older adults. I am sure there must be thousands of other adaptive behaviors and signs of our struggles. We are only beginning to learn about how to find and to diagnose the elderly with autism.

When I had my outline filled in, I went to two large on line internet forums (over 1 thousand members in each) and asked for help refining the descriptions. I asked if the members saw themselves in the descriptions, if they could add to the descriptions, and asked for all input or constructive criticisms. I got great feedback!
The process was by no means scientific and my use of forums was because I am best at written words. Other results may be found by personal interviews, by using formal test form types of booklets , standard neurological testing, etc.

I suspect that the people who responded so avidly and so kindly are also like me… many of the most active participants on these forums were the ones who responded with often lengthy descriptions and detailed observations of what I had missed and what they thought I had got right.
In total, I got hundreds of responses from 88 autistic people, most of whom were women. There were 5 men who commented. Ages ranged from lower 30’s to mid 70’s with most respondents in the middle 40’s to 50’s in age. Many people said that they thought most of the criteria I described applied to them. Some of course took exception to parts of the descriptions. We are all so varied in our autistic presentation and our strengths and weaknesses. I expect the description here will be a bit skewed because it relied on input from mostly older women and mostly those of us who tend to be “wordy” in print.
I suspect many reading it will want to add information and express opinions and I urge you to email me so we can discuss details thoroughly. When I use these guidelines to discuss autism in the elderly un-diagnosed population, I want to get it right!

Old Lady’s Diagnostic guide for Elderly Autistic Adults.

Section A: Social struggles:
1 May be estranged from family members
2 Reports having been bullied throughout life in many varied situations
3 Has held many jobs, for which they may have been grossly overqualified in education and skills or may not have a work history at all

4 Reports having had multiple partners and or failed marriages, or may not have had any at all.

5 reports having been abused ( this seems to be highly common for us as children and as domestic partners) or may have a record of having been abusive (sometimes both)

6 reports a sense of “otherness”, knowing one is different but not understanding how or why this is so.

Section B: Communication deficits:
1 lack of social boundaries. Talks over or interrupts others, stands too close, talks on and on. May make inappropriate comments or ask inappropriate questions.

2 Difficulty using body language or reading and understanding it in others.

3 Has difficulty making conversation, or keeping a conversation going . May not see the use of social conversation, and may not be interested in doing so.
4 May “freeze up” intermittently, depending on company, circumstances, or emotions or may not speak at all. May have speech impediments or echolalia.
5 reports that they make people angry but do not understand why.
6. Reports that they do not understand others’ motivations, intentions, or what they are thinking.
7 may have difficulty understanding one’s own emotions and have trouble expressing them. ( very common)


Section C : Rigid thinking and repetitive behavior patterns

1 Has fixed routines in daily living arrangements. Examples would be set times for meals and activities, set days or certain rituals surrounding certain activities. ( rules for cleaning house, doing laundry, care of car or lawn, etc)

2 Resists changes, especially if sudden. Is alarmed or upset by surprises.

3 Inflexible ideas or thoughts or beliefs.

4 Has especially intense interests and will follow these avidly an in unusually deep detail. May show no interest in things others try to discuss or do.


Section D : Sensory Struggles:

  1. May experience any of the senses intensely in predictable ways, or may be hyper sensitive to sensory stimulation intermittently, or be hypo sensitive in similar ways (continually or intermittently).
    2 May experience sensory meltdowns and become unable to deal with the intense distress that sensory overload causes.
    3 May report unusual sensory experiences.. tasting colors, seeing music, having vivid abilities to visualize images.
    4 Aversion to touch or other distressing stimuli (loud noises, flashing lights, uncomfortable clothing or strong tastes of foods for example) and behavior to avoid experiencing this. Ask how they react to hugs or handshakes, if they like the noise and activity of crowded malls, what foods or music they dislike, etc.
    5 May have odd clothing due to issues with comfort, also may have problems with bodily cleanliness due to sensory issues.
    Note: struggles with sensory difficulties can cause trouble in social situations, making it very difficult for persons to interact in ways that are considered usual, socially acceptable, or “normal”. This will reflect back or tie into to the social struggles and communication problems already discussed.

    Notes and comments:
    Not every person will have every trait described here. Many will have only a few. Although Autism is based in neurological differences, it mostly shows itself through behavioral problems. Social struggles and communication difficulties are the major hallmarks of autism in the diagnostic process. Without these struggles, the individual is most likely not autistic and one must look elsewhere for the cause of their traits. I want to mention that many autistic people struggle with other neurological problems.. executive dysfunction, dyspraxia, dyslexia, digestive trouble, epilepsy, an extensive list – but these are not necessarily diagnostic of autism. One could have any or all of these things and still not be diagnosed as autistic.

    So that’s it. I have no doubt left out things I could have added, or added things I could have left out. I will continue to refine and enhance, attempt to be even more brief and precise in my descriptions as I go. This is the first version of a work in progress. Now it is time for me to do some self care and take a break. Thanks for taking the time to read and understand!





Diagnosis attempt # ???

How things change overnight!

Yesterday I woke up depressed, it had been weeks since we got the phone call from the kind doctor who had begun my diagnosis here in this state, but had become so sick that the work was discontinued.
I have been full of anxiety and hope, dropping to despair as it became evident from his website stating that he has retired in July, and from the formal notice from his lawyer just before he phoned us, that he was not working any more.
The final appointment would not happen.

His ( Dr) lack of calling us back after a phone call to his office as he had directed, plus an email 2 weeks later had no responses.



I was sure this was a case of the good Dr’s health interfering and perhaps he might have more “want to” than “can do”.

Yesterday morning I gave in to the blues and felt sorry for myself and discouraged, determined to look only toward the July 2020 appointment already on my calendar with the Illinois Dr who is a well known author and who I am sure understands autism in adults/elders.

Yesterday while I was out of the house running errands the kind doctor called again.

My husband set up an appointment with him for the end of this month Sept 2019.

I am in shock. Afraid to feel hope or relief. I don’t handle sudden transitions that well, even if they are positive.

Dr said he has good days and bad days but wants to go ahead and finish this diagnosis as his health allows. We are to call or he will call a few days before the appointment this time to confirm that he is well enough to proceed. So many emotions whirling around inside me, so many seeds of hope afraid to sprout, so many doubts that this will finally actually happen, so many worries about “what if he tells me I am not autistic”???

and so on.

Sudden changes and arrangements needed! Let alone the arrangements needed to get downstate, hotel reservations, dog boarding, etc. Thank goodness I have my very supportive spouse to lean on. The days are going to drag now until appointment time and I will have a difficult time concentrating on much at all until I finally know.

I am hoping I can get rid of the diagnosis labels the first neurologist gave me , and not be saddled with those throughout the end of my life. I can see where I might end up being drugged and worse if I am ever hospitalized or must have nursing home care. One look at that chart!!!! Saddest of all is that so many older autistic people with struggles are misdiagnosed every day and some spend the rest of their days in conditions such as I just described. Younger autistic women are frequently misdiagnosed as Borderline or Bipolar and treated with psychotropic meds which do little or do damage to them in countless ways.

I am working hard on a series of descriptions and questions to help identify older adults with autism. I have spent countless hours on the internet looking at studies, at current test forms, at the DSM V , and many more hours reading blogs and interacting on a few forums /online internet groups.
I have asked a couple of these groups to collaborate with me and give input.
Each group has over a thousand members and I have gained much good insight and feedback.
The final description of adult autistic recognition and questions to ask to help understand if one is autistic, will be posted here as soon as it is finished.
The reason I do this is because so many of the diagnostic criteria and the tests and forms available to diagnosing medical entities today are aimed at diagnosing children.
Very few autistic adults present now as they did at age 4, 9, or 12, or even 25.
We learn to adapt, we exchange innocent stims for hidden ones or more socially acceptable behaviors. We adjust ourselves in many ways to try to fit into the world, masking skills probably increase for many of us as we age, but the underlying neurology remains the same and our struggles are real and often overwhelming.
A look “below the surface” can tell the story we have worked so hard to hide.
Knowing I am autistic has changed my life in countless ways, all for the better. I hope presenting these traits and questions will be useful to somebody as a help in finding undiagnosed autism in the elderly.

My own official diagnosis is pending. I hope I can help others find peace in knowing that autism was behind so many of the struggles and the pain of the earlier years in life.

Random musings from autistic old lady

Not my usual single topic page

There seems to be more interest in stress as related to Autism.
It seems there are tests showing that autistic people generally have more stress hormones such as cortisol in their systems. I am beginning to dig into the reports and studies. One thought is in my mind. Chicken/egg??? Is it reactions to dealing with autism symptoms which the cause of the stress, thereby causing release of hormones or are the hormones that are being found somehow controlled by the autism itself ( and therefore a symptom in its presence alone, even without stressful circumstances which usually cause release of the hormones) and might cortisol and other stress hormones in certain proportions or quantities be found to be a biological marker for autism?
So far all the tests seem to have been done under what might be stressful conditions to any autistic person, enough to cause the release of all those hormones they measured. Much remains to be seen. Watching with interest.

I want to report a great experience with the medical community regarding autism diagnosis. I have reported throughout this blog some of the struggles and miscommunications in my attempts to gain “official medical” diagnosis.
This time was different.
I have been referred to an adult autism diagnostic clinic in another state. My GP’s office had prepared me to expect an appointment next year (proof of the high demand for adult autism diagnosis) and I was duly contacted on the telephone by a clinic representative.
The phone interview was conducted by a person who spoke clearly and enunciated precisely.
She stated clearly her name and her title, and the name of the clinic she represents. She gave me time to respond without feeling pressured.
Most of the questions asked were to confirm the usual facts about birth date, insurance coverage, etc. Those questions were posed so that I could respond with yes or no. No open ended questions!
Even the final question regarding my problem (the reason I wanted the appointment) was set up to give me a choice of answer so I could choose a correct response rather than try to figure out exactly what information was wanted and then have to produce it under pressure of the caller awaiting response. I was given a choice of A, B, or C . Wonderful!
The caller explained the next steps and told me exactly what I could expect to happen. It only took a couple of minutes but it was handled perfectly, and in an autism friendly manner. I feel as if progress is being made!

I called the doctor who had offered to complete my diagnosis on Monday, as he requested. Today is Saturday. No response so far. His website says he retired in July of this year. I am feeling a bit confused. But perhaps I am just too anxious. Time will tell.

The importance of diagnosis

Knowing I am autistic has been the greatest and most useful information I have ever discovered.

I want to repeat once again an explanation of the purpose of this blog.

Recently I have been getting a lot of emails with apologies for my childhood pain and angst, for my sufferings and my struggles, and all are so sorry I went through that.

I feel I have failed if the only thing I have done us stir your sympathy/empathy for pains long past.
The point of telling these things is not to obtain sympathy or to lament “poor me”, but to illustrate how autism and my lack of understanding, and the lack of knowledge of autism in those around me all contributed to the struggles we had then.

I am trying to point out the dynamics at work in an ‘autism blind’ world.

I am trying to point out things that may work to help understanding and communication as persons interacting, whether autistic or neurotypical.


The point is, that nobody then knew what we know as I type this.

Autism was at work in our interactions and none of us knew what was wrong, or how to do things any better.


Now I know and understand that I am autistic, I can see clearly how so many things happened and why.

Now I know about autism I can figure out so much of what had confused me for most of my life.

My writing here is not about the suffering and struggles, as much more it is about learning what caused them, and how they can be averted for those who are having trouble in the world today.

Older autistic persons such as myself, who went through life without ever hearing about autism are likely still living every day with a sense of confusion, frustration, self doubt and blame, anger issues and a deep sense of being a failure.

Those were the lessons taught to us by society at large and our lives being lived without the insights and understanding, and especially the self forgiveness that comes when we understand that we are not personally to blame. Autism diagnosis changes everything!

Autism diagnosis can open doors and shed light on thinking that casts a shadow first upon oneself for being ‘bad’, ‘mean’, ‘coldhearted’, ‘selfish’, ‘thoughtless’, lazy, and so many more labels we were given because nobody knew about autism and how autism changes perceptions, understanding, behavior and above all human interactions. Nobody knew!

Knowing about my autism is the best thing that could have happened to me. It has allowed me to understand so much of my past and see the dynamics that were not obvious before.
Diagnosis has given me self understanding. I had no idea of the way my thought and sensory processes differed so greatly from others. I never understood why I failed at so much that seemed so easy for everybody else. I never understood that it was not my fault. Why was I such a miserable failure?? Nobody knew!

Diagnosis has allowed me to forgive myself for being less than perfect, although I truly tried all those years to do my best, my sense of failure in any social context was overwhelming. Nobody knew!

Diagnosis has allowed me to see in light of learning about autism, how all the others I interacted with did not know or understand either.


I have been able to forgive the past and am now free to work on my deepened understanding of myself and others.

For the first time I am able to know myself and understand how my own thought processes, and indeed all the sensory processes that make up ‘who I am ‘ define me. Self understanding has brought much deeper understanding to my interactions with others as well. Diagnosis and the subsequent self understanding has been a tremendously interesting and satisfying experience, I am so uplifted in spirits and feel encouraged. With the understanding of autism I have the tools to learn and grow in so many new ways, and the insight into my autism makes it possible to see things with much deeper understanding and allows me to explore so many new options for my life.

I hope that all older people who are autistic can find the same freedom and insight that has come with my knowing and understanding autism, in myself, in my interactions with others, and in my life of the past and especially my life as I am now learning to live it.

The purpose of this blog is not to arouse sympathy, but to make people aware of the desperate need to reach older autistic people and with proper diagnosis help make the world they live in more negotiable, more understandable, less hostile, and provide good working insights and tools to use to live life free of self blame, doubt, and so much misunderstanding.

Diagnosis is healing.

Diagnosis is the key to self understanding.

Diagnosis is a catalyst to personal growth.

Diagnosis is an answer to all of those questions of ‘why’ that torment and had, until diagnosis, been unanswerable.

There are thousands of us in the USA alone. ( undiagnosed elderly autistic people) I hope to help by raising awareness that we are here, autistic, most of us in these elder generations simply not knowing, and so much help can be accessed, so much understanding and forgiveness made possible, so much healing and inner peace finally available by diagnosis of our autism.

Asking for a referral, social anxiety, why I prefer my own company.

I am planning to make another attempt at “official diagnosis”

Due to problems with communication and my GP’s short, abrupt, impatient treatment of my questions, and incidents of her scornfully yelling at me in the past, I had avoided the idea of asking for a referral, or trying to explain to her why I believe I am autistic.
I had searched both my insurance network and the network of health care providers she works for, and none of them had any specialists in autism, not even for children.

I considered asking for a referral from the GP an unnecessary, dead end approach to diagnosis. I did not bother asking her, because I knew from my research on Doctors available in her extensive statewide medical system that none were providers with any interest in autism.

Now I have found a Hospital in another state, 9 hours drive away, which has a department devoted exclusively to diagnosis and care of autistic adults. The doctor in charge of the clinic is an author whose books I have read. It seems she does indeed understand autism in adults. In order to see her, or to be considered for diagnostic testing and interviews, I must have a referral from another doctor.

I dread going for my yearly scolding/wellness check so am already beginning to fret.

A thousand “what if” questions run through my head. I feel as if I have to be prepared for any eventuality and of course I am not able to do that. Feeling incompetent to deal with a given situation is a BIG trigger for anxiety in me.

Most social situations (dealing with any other humans and trying to interact with them on any level is something I consider a social situation) cause great anxiety because I fear I am not competent to deal with whatever may happen. Let me re-phrase that, I know I am not competent to deal with most situations that may arise. Life long experience has taught me that. I am much better at age 67 than I was in my first 30 years, but by comparison with most NT persons, I still find I fail quite frequently.

Most anxiety for me is because I feel that I will not be able to deal with whatever situation I am facing in a competent manner, without making a fool of myself or annoying or angering somebody.
So many life experiences in the past have proved these fears are founded in truth.
As an older adult I no longer fear physical harm from most situations, but I dread anger, argument, aggression, criticism, scorn and rejection. I am simply afraid to subject myself to situations where these dynamics come into play, leaving me emotionally hurt and helpless to defend myself.
With life experiences of this sort of thing happening in interactions with others, is it any wonder I am anxious?

It is not that I don’t want to interact with other people, it is more that I seem unable to do so without causing anger, scorn, or other negative treatment from others.
I prefer not to ‘socialize’ – that is interact with others regardless of whether it is in an informal or a service or professional setting, because the negative experience has been the most common in my life, and why indeed would I seek that out?

BUT: Is that not what the goal of seeking diagnosis is all about?
I wish to interact with persons to tell them about autism in elderly people. One by one I am facing my fears, the message is important.
I hope to help others understand how autism has affected their own lives, and mean time I continue to try to find a way to overcome the way it affects me as well.