• Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month

    National Autism Awareness month is intended to raise awareness to promote increased autism acceptance and celebrating neurodiversity and individual differences.

    According to the CDC about 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Autism occurs in all ethnic, racial, economic, sex and gender groups.

    In fact, studies have shown elevated rates of autism, autistic traits and neurodiversity in trans and non-binary individuals. In fact, a 2020 study found that trans folx were 3-6x as likely to be on the autism spectrum. As a therapist working with trans and non-binary adults, I have come across this a lot in my practice.

    Self-diagnosis has become a big issue within both the autism community and within professional communities. I think it’s important to recognize that getting a formal diagnosis is a privilege and we know that white cisgender males tend to be more readily identified, referred, and diagnosed for a variety of reasons.

    When people are not formally diagnosed in childhood, it becomes that much harder to obtain a diagnosis in adulthood. For a long time there have been limited resources available to do such testing and even as these resources have started to increase, the price for such an evaluation ($1,000-2,000) keeps this option inaccessible to many.

    These barriers have led to an increase in self-diagnosis and self-rating scales widely available on-line. And some studies are starting to demonstrate the validity of such self-assessments.

    There are a variety of reasons someone may or may not want to obtain a formal diagnosis, but I think it’s important for society in general and professionals in particular to acknowledge that there are many impediments to formal diagnosis and that self-diagnosis should not be automatically dismissed as invalid. Sources: Harvard Business Review, CDC, & the 2020 study from Warrier, et al. in Nature Communications.