Useful links, resources and signposts
Are you an autistic adult looking for support or information?
In my experience most support for autistic people is centred on children and parents. There seems to be very little available for autistic adults, especially those diagnosed later in life (perhaps because it’s often assumed that we are able to cope without help after dealing alone with undiagnosed autism for many years).
This is something it’s my mission to one day change.
So I focus here on services and information relevant to autistic women/adults. And as I’m based in the UK, I focus mainly on groups and organisations that are UK based. But if you know of any groups or organisations in other parts of the world that support autistic adults, please get in touch and tell me about them!
If you think you might be autistic…
You can find information about the diagnostic criteria for autism here (this is from the UK’s National Autistic Society).
The ‘Aspie Quiz’ test has been around for a while – I think I first took it in around 2007. Don’t be put off by the name (I wish they’d change it though!) While it won’t give you a definitive answer, it will give you an indication of whether or not you are likely to be autistic. It’s free.
Another free online testing tool is this one: the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test. It’s much quicker than the ‘Aspie Quiz’ test above, with only 50 questions (compared to 121 in the ‘Aspie Quiz’).
If you want to find out about getting an adult autism diagnosis:
I wrote this post about getting an NHS assessment in the UK.
Take a look at this information from the NHS.
This information from the National Autistic Society is really helpful and goes into more detail.
Adult Autism is a diagnostic service based in Ireland. Their team of neurodiversity affirmative psychologists works with people across the UK, Ireland and Europe. In addition to full autism assessments, they also provide Psychology Consultations if you are not be sure about whether you want to go ahead with a full autism assessment but would like to talk it all through with someone.
Sarah Hendrickx of Hendrickx Associates, a company in East Sussex, UK, offers private, non-clinical adult assessments and autism coaching. Sarah is well known on YouTube and is autistic herself.
The Lorna Wing Centres are run by the National Autistic Society in the UK and offer a range of specialist diagnostic and assessment services for children, young people and adults. **August 2022: the Lorna Wing Centres are currently unable to take any new referrals for child or adult assessment**
Psicon (based in Kent, UK) offers a comprehensive diagnostic assessment service of Autistic Spectrum Conditions for those aged 16 and over.
RTN Mental Health (registered address in London, UK), offer a full autism diagnostic assessment and I’ve seen some positive feedback about them on Twitter.
Neuroclastic has compiled this list of diagnosticians who diagnose adults, covering (at the time of writing) the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Africa.
Project 39 was my original blog, in which I wrote about my experience of seeking (and receiving) an autisim diagnosis when I was in my 30s. You can read the blog here.
For those in Wales, these resources might be helpful:
If you live in Cardiff or the Vale and want to go down the NHS route, you can ask your GP to refer you to the Integrated Autism Service (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board) using the referral form on this page (see the form link and instructions at the bottom of the page). **Waiting list around 2 years as of August 2022.
The Autism Service has a team in Cardiff that works with children and adults to privately assess and diagnose autism. Initial consultation, diagnostic assessment and support. **Disclaimer: I have not spoken to anyone who has used this service, and they use person-first language (‘person with autism’) and ‘ASD’ frequently on their website, which might be offputting to some self identified autistic adults.
Autistic therapists, mentors and coaches
Hendrickx Associates – Private autism mentoring and coaching covering a range of topics including relationships, education, coming to terms with a diagnosis, employment, and support for family members and spouses of autistic people (UK based).
Max Marnau – autistic counsellor (Scotland, UK)
Audrey Mitchell – autistic counsellor (Boise, Idaho, USA)
Rebecca Kerl – autistic counsellor (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
Jo Casey – autistic business coach (Kington, Herefordshire, UK)
These have all been guests on the Squarepeg podcast – look them up!
And if you are an autistic psychotherapist or counsellor and would like to join an online professional community of autistic therapists, here is the link to Max Marnau’s Facebook group.
National Autistic Society
Autism diagnosis for adults – the benefits and the process
Information about employment for autistic adults.
Unique services for people to enable them to have ownership of their own lives and future.
Guidance around diagnosis and signposts to support from the NHS
Information about Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Autism and Asperger Syndrome), service details, training opportunities and updates on the implementation of the ASD Strategic Action Plan for Wales.
Samantha Craft’s Autistic Traits Checklist and Ten Traits
“We are ourselves and we aren’t ourselves. Between imitating others and copying the ways of the world, and trying to be honest, and having no choice but to be ‘real,’ we find ourselves trapped between pretending to be normal and showing all our cards.”
Understanding the Spectrum
A comic strip explanation
The Best Books About Autism by Autistic Women (Conscious Life)
“These are books by Autistic women, about being an Autistic woman, as selected by an Autistic woman.”
Why It’s Hard to Switch Tasks
A comic strip explanation
Bernard Grant: Autism resources (curated videos, podcasts, books, Tweets and other resources)
“On this page I’m collecting various autism resources about the autistic experience. Autism is a healthy variation of the human condition. Autists are not tragedies, nor are we defective. We are justice-seeking neurodivergent people who view and experience the world autistically—logically, in systems, in details, and in our own space and time.”
Spectrum (online autism magazine, since 2008)
“Comprehensive news and analysis of advances in autism research.”
Articles you might find interesting*
Top 10 Reasons Why INFJs Are Walking Paradoxes (Deborah Ward, Introvert Dear, November 2021)
“INFJs are walking, talking contradictions. As introverts who want to help people, and feelers who love logic, they can seem confusing, even to themselves.”
>>> Not strictly about autism, but indulge me – as an INFJ this article was like looking in a mirror! Anecdotally it seems that many more autistic people are INFJ than the general population, so you might find that this resonates!
Face blindness (Bernard Grant, Specialisterne, November 2021)
“Those of us who are ignorant about faces may seem careless, absentminded, or aloof, though many of us struggle with social anxiety.”
>>> I interviewed Bernard on the podcast – Series 3, Ep9 (episode 40)
My autism diagnosis, one year on: what I was not warned about (Sophie Longley, LinkedIn, November 2021)
“A piece about my autism diagnosis one year on and my unexpected experiences at university. Spoiler alert: it’s not all sunflower lanyards and extra study support.”
>>> I interviewed Sophie on the podcast – Series 2, Ep3 (episode 15)
Autigender and Neuroqueer: Two Words on the Relationship Between Autism and Gender That Fit Me (Ryan Boren, April 2021)
“Autigender is not saying that “My gender is autism” – it’s not about saying you are a boy, girl, enby, autism, whatever. It’s about your relationship with your gender.”
“You don’t look autistic” – coming out as an autistic therapist (Max Marnau, Counselling Directory, October 2020)
“The stereotype says that autistic people lack empathy, theory of mind and the capacity for self-reflection, so how can that be? Well, it may just be that, like so many stereotypes, it contains a grain of truth and no more.”
>>> I interviewed Max on the podcast – Series 2, Ep7 (episode 19)
Research on facial expressions challenges the way we think about autism (Connor Tom Keating and Jennifer Cook, The Conversation, April 2020)
“Autism researchers are starting to think that autistic and non-autistic faces may “speak a different language” when conveying emotion. It means we may need to re-think the idea that autistic people have difficulties with expressing their emotions and instead consider that non-autistic people may have trouble reading them.”
“Is my autism a superpower?” (The Guardian, November 2019)
“Are those of us with autistic spectrum conditions disabled or different? Are we, by definition, deficient human beings, or are there compensations that come with our condition? Are there any circumstances in which autism could be considered, not merely an acceptable difference, but a superpower?”
‘It’s a spectrum’ doesn’t mean what you think (Neuroclastic, May 2019)
“For seventy years (at least), people have been making assumptions about autistic people based on outward behaviour. Even the diagnostic criteria for autism is based on what is easily observable by an onlooker. They think that the stranger we act, the “more autistic” we are.”
Go, Greta. Autism is my superpower too (Jack Monroe, The Observer, April 2019)
“There is clearly something about bold, neurodivergent women and girls that prompts powerful men to scrape the sides of their own putrid barrels of opinion to attack this “terrifying” otherness.”
Different for girls: understanding autism (The Guardian, April 2019)
“While a “hot topic” in research circles, the fact that women and girls can even be autistic is still a surprise to many non-specialists.”
Is autism being missed among women and girls? (BBC World Service, April 2019)
“Autistic girls and women may go undiagnosed because doctors, teachers and parents often think of the condition as primarily affecting boys.”
Why neurodiversity needs recognition (The Telegraph, March 2019)
“We know that neurodiversity is an asset – quite literally thinking differently helps companies perform better. It is the responsibility of these leaders to put neurodiversity on their own personal and professional to-do lists.”
The costs of camouflaging autism (Spectrum News, February 2018)
“Many girls hide their autism, sometimes evading diagnosis well into adulthood. These efforts can help women on the spectrum socially and professionally, but they can also do serious harm.”
New Research Suggests Social Issues are Down to Neurotypicals more than Autistics (Critical Neurodiversity, November 2017)
“The empathy problem goes both ways, not to mention that this happens in the context of pervasive ableist norms and attitudes that seek to alter rather than accommodate autistic being.”
Autism – It’s Different in Girls (Scientific American, March 2016)
“New research suggests the disorder often looks different in females, many of whom are being misdiagnosed and missing out on the support they need.”
Female Autism: Is it Different and What Should I Look Out For? (Hub, January 2016)
“Despite there being no clear-cut reason why women are less likely to be affected by autism than men, the research presents us with a number of ideas that could help us to understand why women with the condition are less likely to be diagnosed…”
Autism as an adult (The Guardian, Sept 2015)
“That none of us wake up cured at 18 still appears to mystify some professionals.”
Just a Square Peg Blog (the name is a coincidence – great minds etc.)
“This blog started because I wanted to share the good, the bad and the funny about living with BPD. However, thanks to currently living in diagnosis limbo, I am now sharing my journey to an autism diagnosis.”
>>> I interviewed Beth on the podcast – Series 2, Ep9 (episode 21)
What’s the time confessional
“Gender, sexuality, mental health and being autistic.”
>>> I interviewed Ella on the podcast – Series 2, Ep4 (episode 16)
“My thoughts on education, recognising the true extent of my neurodivergence in my 20s, and how the two can intersect.”
>>> I interviewed Sarah on the podcast – Series 1, Ep10 (episode 10)
Neuroclastic (online magazine, since 2018 – formerly The Aspergian)
“A collective of neurodivergents cataloguing the experience, insights, knowledge, talents, and creative pursuits of autistics.”
Musings of an Aspie (personal blog, 2012-2015)
“Aspies are often labelled high functioning by default. Some people even seem to think it’s a compliment.”
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