Adult autism assessment – why do it?

by Marita on March 14, 2012

We’ve got two daughters, both on the autism spectrum – age 7 & 8 now. There have been many years of not enough sleep, not enough time for being a couple, not enough quiet. There is always somewhere to be and appointments to be made, discussions to be had with therapists, teachers and support groups.

At some point my husband and I realised that we were speaking different languages, communication was becoming a big issue in our relationship… or rather the lack of it. Now that we didn’t have time to spend hours together working on our relationship, things were unravelling.

We sought help with a relationship counsellor, thinking that our issues were related to investing so much time in our daughters – he working long hours to pay all the extra bills that come with autism therapies, me spending my days running them here there and everywhere and working at home to continue the therapies. Both of us too exhausted to also work on our relationship.

But it seems there might more underlying our communication, Autism is genetic, and perhaps our autistic traits are contributing to our communication issues. After all a large part of being on the spectrum is social and communication issues – both of which have a huge impact on a marriage.

So we’ve started the steps towards both of us getting assessed, it is very different to the process we went through getting our girls assessed. More of a question and answer session with the psychologist, talking about our childhood and our lives now. There have been lots of laughs as we remember odd moments and funny events.

A diagnosis won’t mean much in terms of help / support, but it could mean the strengthening of our marriage as we learn to communicate with each other in the same language.

{ 28 comments }

Yeran (Stranger Than Fiction) March 14, 2012 at 6:55 am

Funnily enough I like this idea and wholeheartedly agree. Probably because I am pretty sure I’m on the spectrum well and truly. I am sure I’m an Aspie.
Let us know how you guys go Marita x

Marita March 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

Thank you Yeran. I’m sure there will be updates further down the road.

melanie March 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

I’ve always wondered about getting myself and my husband assessed, I would swear blind that we are both on the spectrum.

Marita March 14, 2012 at 9:47 am

Like you Melanie I’ve always though we were on the spectrum or very close to it. It will be nice to have it confirmed and give us tools to help communicate with each other.

Sarah @fignutmum March 14, 2012 at 7:24 am

I am on the spectrum but just not officially. But I talked to the kids shrink when I had a moment of realisation and she said she had already suspected it.
For me from that moment
my life made sense.

I understood why some things were really hard for me (like social situations) and that because others dont know things like different dog breeds they are not idiots lol (animals are one of my special interests)

I would love to make it official but it isnt an easy task, like you said.

Anyway goodluck with your journey

Marita March 14, 2012 at 9:50 am

Not easy at all, glad hubby and I are doing it together so we can support each other.

Also very glad that the girls psychologist was willing to see adults.

katesaysstuff March 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

I hope the assessments help give you some tools to help communication. Makes sense to me.

I’m sure I’m not on the spectrum, I don’t know that I think ST is either… I do tend to think it comes from my side of the family though…

Marita March 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

Thank you Kate. It seems like a logical step and I’m hoping it helps long term. Certainly don’t think all parents of ASD children are on the spectrum… actually sometimes I think we pick up some traits to cope with parenting our kids.

Cassandra March 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

I was assessed at the age of 22, after a friend who works as a special needs teacher’s aide said I seemed like some of her kids. My mum was upset at first, thinking she’d “broken” me in the womb somehow. I assured her she’d simply passed on the “Ultimate Awesomes”. Intregued, she was also assessed. We both win at spectrum! :-)

Marita March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

Yay for perceptive friends and the “Ultimate Awesomes” is perfect description :)

Deb March 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

It sounds like a logical thing to do. We don’t have that ‘excuse’ but we’ve done marriage counselling and I’m sure we will again. It doesn’t mean you’re about to get divorced, just that it’s important enough to get some expert assistance and an outside perspective. I still use some of the tricks so it was worth it.

My parents did it a few times, I remember when we were all moving out of home they did it to help adjust to the new situation. I like counselling, I think it’s really useful.

Marita March 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

Thanks Deb :) I’m finding counselling really useful also, it was fantastic for helping Annie the last few years and now husband and I. :)

rebecca leathem March 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I have wondered about the communication difficulties we have in our family & what lies behind them. I hope this gives you two some strategies & time to focus on your marriage. Xxx

Marita March 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thank you Rebecca.

Elissa March 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Wonderful post Marita, such a personal and important thing to share, looking forward to hearing updates as things move along xx

Marita March 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thank you Elissa.

Fiona March 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Good to also go down the track of that if it looks at other reasons behind difficulties, eg if it’s not ASD, then what? Just anxiety, communication difficulties?

I’ve joked with my psych that I have an expressive language disorder. And I sometimes believe that, particularly the more I read into language disorders and anxiety…

Marita March 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Oh yes, we will keep on with the counselling and try to figure out what is going on. We’ve joked lots about being on the spectrum but it took a push to get us to a formal diagnosis.

Kate @ UpsideBackwards March 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

That’s really interesting Marita. I hope you get some answers – whatever they might be ;-) – and that they’re helpful ones. Best of luck!

Marita March 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

Thanks Kate

Maid In Australia March 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Every professional we’ve seen has thought my son’s Dad is on the spectrum. And to be honest, there are echoes of things I did in my own childhood (and to an extent now, although I’ve grown out/leaned not to do those behaviours over time) that remind me of my son. I’ve often wondered if I should be assessed, and if so, if it would be worthwhile. Would be interested in finding out how you go.

Marita March 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

Thank you. Will keep the blog updated with our progress.

Stimey March 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

You honestly have no idea how much I needed to read this today. I have this week been looking for people to assess me and making appointments for myself and it has been emotionally a lot harder than I thought it would be, for a lot of reasons. Reading this confirmed some things for me, so thank you. Good luck to you and your husband. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out, for all of us. :)

Marita March 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

Glad it helped Stimey. I will be keeping the blog update with what happens.

Surprising how emotional a journey it can be, but then anything that involves looking back at the past can be very emotional.

kebeni March 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

My ex-DH is quite high on the spectrum (undiagnosed). We fell apart due to his communication issues (lack of) and lots of other issues that occurred due to the spectrum. Neither of us realised what was wrong until I had our son diagnosed and all these little lightbulbs came on. I wonder if we would still be together if we had known back then? I will be interested to hear your journey with this. I am curious to know why you need to get a diagnosis and what it will achieve? Please don’t take this as a judgement I am really interested.

Marita March 21, 2012 at 11:54 am

We are mostly getting the diagnosis done because our marriage counselor recommended it. Her approach to the counseling would be very different depending on if we are both on the spectrum, one is and one isn’t or both not on the spectrum.

Louisa March 17, 2012 at 6:48 am

I’ve had this post open to comment for the last few days, just wanted to say that I so appreciate and admire your openness. xx

Marita March 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thank you Louisa.

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