Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What do you get out of a diagnosis.

Well, I said I was starting this because of being tired of answering the same questions over and over. This is one of those questions, it was just asked again and I had to start going through the mental list rather than just linking to a post like my eventual response will be. Anyways for a list of things that I've gotten out of my diagnosis and others have mentioned getting out of their diagnoses.

The ability to work with specialists
This is in particular what caused me to get my diagnosis. Most counselors and people of that sort don't actually have knowledge about the autistic spectrum - and if they do, then it is often doesn't include actually working with people on the spectrum, just a researcher's view of it. While these people don't necessarily work with only people with diagnoses, its unusual for one of them to have the time in their schedule to take on undiagnosed patients.
Various sorts of therapy covered by insurance
A decent number of states at this point have laws regarding insurance and the autistic spectrum. These laws vary wildly from it not being able to be counted as a pre-existing condition, to requiring coverage of things that are not necessarily otherwise covered. In Massachusetts, ARICA is worth looking into. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and the like are required to be covered by at least some sort of insurance. I've not taken advantage of this but have had it recommended to me that I should look into sensory integration occupational therapy.
Accommodations at work, in school, or in other relevant places
Accommodations are the standard thing that people get out of a diagnosis. These vary from having more time on exams, to taking exams separate from the class, to having all instructions written instead of given verbally. Personally, when I eventually retake the GRE subject test, I'm going to be needing to request a separate room with a non-smoking proctor, and the room not having florescent light bulbs. When it comes to work, I'm going to have a huge challenge finding the right accommodations to deal with my sensory needs (other than we've figured out I need a closet or something that's mine to hide in if I start getting a migraine from things getting to be too much).
Generic 'for disabled people' monetarily-based things from the government
These seemed just worth grouping together because they're all related. I get reduced fare public transit tickets because of my Asperger's (which is incredibly nice with the inability to drive and lack of income). It can be enough to qualify people for SSI and/or SSDI. With SSI you qualify for things like food stamps, Mass Health, and such without employment. In general, if someone need monetary assistance it'd be the huge pain that it is with the government, but its far more of an option than without a diagnosis.
Others understanding you better
This can actually be far more than people give it credit for. Assumptions that some of your actions aren't for other reasons going away can mean a lot.
A diagnostic report that helps you understand yourself better
When you get a diagnosis, you don't just get a paper with a label on it, you get a full report of the testing done. This is a description of some of your strengths and weaknesses, which you may have not known about before. This might be because of not having realized that people functioned any differently than you did. It wasn't until reading my diagnosis report that I realized that not everyone fully analyzed a situation before deciding whether something was "awkward" or such. The idea of intuitive understanding of social situations had never occured to me.
The diagnostic report also allows you to inform others about yourself
My doctor is interested in doing everything she can do to help me, but hasn't worked with another patient with an ASD before. She has a copy of my diagnostic report as well and is using that to help to understand me. The report is a formal way of giving her this information. It is also not me needing to explain details about myself that I have no idea how to put into words.

There may be more of these, and if I come up with more then I'll edit this, but this should at least be a useful list that I can link to.

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