Autism is a lifelong developmental condition, which affects people in different ways. Autism is not always picked up in childhood; people can be diagnosed at any age.
There are different services available for diagnosis and support depending on how old you are.
Getting a diagnosis for under 18s
If you have a child under 18 and think they may have autism you can ask to be referred for an autism assessment. If you have concerns you should speak to:
- Your health visitor
- Your GP
- Your child's teacher
or any other professional involved with your child. They should be able to refer you to the appropriate service.
You can also go to Trafford's Family Information Service for more information about services and support for children and families.
Getting a diagnosis as an adult
If you are 18 or over and think that you may have autism there are a number of self-screening questionnaires available online. Whilst these can't diagnose autism, they may help you decide whether to ask your GP to refer you for a diagnostic assessment.
Diagnostic assessments are carried out by Trafford Extendend Services. You may also want to download a copy of the Trafford Extended Services leaflet to take with you when you go to see your GP to ask for an assessment.
Trafford Extended Services can be contacted on 0161 3571210
You can download a copy of an autism screening questionnaire, the Autism Quotient (AQ) 10 from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG142 . The AQ 10 wil not diagnose you with autism, but it can be useful information for you to take to your GP appointment.
A diagnosis can help you and your family to make sense of difficulties you are experiencing.
It may help you to understand yourself better and to make sense of your feelings and experiences. It can be the key to getting support, should you require it.
However, not everyone choses to go down the route of formal diagnosis, and it is worth talking to other people about the pros and cons before you make your decision.
It is entirely up to you who you share information about your diagnosis with, or even whether you share it at all.
Some people are open about their condition, whereas others choose to keep this information to themselves.
Your decision will depend on the situation and who you feel needs to know.
Again it is often worth talking to other people about the pros and cons before you make your decision, and the National Autistic Society Website www.autism.org.uk and healthtalkonline healthtalkonline.org give useful information and video clips of people talking about disclosure.
Trafford runs several groups to help people diagnosed with autism in adulthood.
Post Diagnosis Group
This group is offered to adults who have had an autism diagnosis through the Trafford adult diagnostic pathway.
The group offers people the opportunity to find out more about their diagnosis and to discuss issues such as suppport, services, the pros and cons of disclosure, employment and relationships. Referral to the group is through the adult diagnostic pathway.
This Post Diagnosis Group Information leaflet tells you more.
Social Skills Group
This group is offered to adults who have had a recent diagnosis of autism.
It offers an opportunity for group members to meet others in a similar sitaution and discuss and practice different aspects of socialising. Access to the group is through the adult diagnostic pathway.
This Post Diagnosis Group Social Skills leaflet tells you more.
Coping Skills Group
This group is offered to people who have had a recent diagnosis of autism.
It offers a modular programme covering subjects such as:
- Understanding and managing emotions
Access to the group is through the adult diagnostic pathway
This Post Diagnosis Coping Skills leaflet tells you more.
Funded by the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities, this Northenden-based project offers a range of services and information including:
- A telephone helpline - for people with autism, their carers and associated professionals
- Support to 10 GM Autism Development Groups
- A quarterly newsletter
- Advice and information
Find out more at www.autismgm.org.uk