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What to Expect From An Autism Assessment

Updated: Jun 11, 2023


Blank notebook with pen.

Now a little disclaimer here, I can only speak from my experience and this post is meant to walk you through my assessment and what that looked like. I imagine everyone's experience will be a little bit different depending on where you live and who does your assessment. I was, what I would consider "lucky," in terms of finding a psychologist and getting a diagnosis fairly easily. I know many of us have struggled with this process.

 

Before and During

My assessment took six hours total, divided over two days. So three hours each, and the appointments were about a week apart.


There was paperwork. A lot of it. So prepare yourself. And while your parent will also have forms to fill out, make sure yours take priority as you're the one that knows yourself best. Also my dad has such an awful memory it really was my word against his at that point.


I did a number of assessments which I'll list below:

  1. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – 4th edition (WAIS-IV)

  2. Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities – 4th Edition (WJ-IV Cog)

  3. Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – 4th Edition Form A (WJ-IV Ach)

  4. Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Oral Language – 4th Edition (WJ-IV OL)

  5. Comprehensive Executive Functioning Inventory – Adult (CEFI-A)

  6. Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)

  7. Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale (WFIRS)

  8. Childhood Autistic Spectrum Test (CAST)

  9. Social Responsiveness Scale – 2nd Edition (SRS-2)

  10. Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

  11. Effort tests

My psychologist reviewed every possible issue instead of solely focusing on Autism. I like that they did this, actually. It helped eliminate other possibilities so we could focus on the one that really mattered.


A few weeks later the psychologist had finished a final report and gave me a copy. I officially had an Autism diagnosis.

A Little Mishap

I will mention the psychologist suggested Autism Speaks as a good resource. I couldn't let that slide, and just had to email them back saying it's not a good resource and it is actually a hate group and to not recommend it in the future. They took it well, but it was a little disappointing.


I was honestly thinking more about any future clients of theirs that would most likely be children and did not want any - potentially harmful - misinformation spreading.


After

After the assessment you will likely experience burnout. Not only is the process long and time consuming, but it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy out of you. I got home and immediately curled up in bed and listened to some music in the dark...which I now know was a form of stimming. So again, be prepared.


Final Thoughts

I was lucky. I wasn't even on a waiting list, we booked the appointments months in advance, but I didn't have to wait forever for my assessment. Also, my parents covered the cost so I didn't have to worry about forking out a couple thousand dollars to pay for this.


But I know that's not the case for a lot of people. I know it can be a struggle to even get a prescription/referral from your doctor, let alone the year or two year long waiting list. And then there's the high cost. All before you even get into an appointment. Which sucks. But if you really think a formal diagnosis is what you need then it's worth the wait.


If not, a self-diagnosis is just as acceptable.


I chose a formal diagnosis because of how little I knew about Autism at the time, I needed the reassurance that I wasn't totally off-base with this idea. I was also thinking about my future and any accommodations I might need with school or work, which would require a formal diagnosis. In the long run, I played it safe.

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