Autism as a Spectrum
Autism is called a spectrum condition because it affects people in different ways and to different degrees. Whilst many autistic people can lead independent lives with jobs, relationships, and social lives they will encounter difficulties which will require additional support. This can also be exhausting for them as they may be masking their condition.
At the other end of the spectrum many will require more intensive support throughout their lives, particularly if their autism is accompanied by an additional learning or mental health difficulty.
A person’s profile can be very confusing. They have academic skills and be able to talk to a public audience, but then not be able to answer the telephone or understand the contents of their post.
Autism Bucks will communicate using autism terminology that reflects the outcomes of current research and also the choice of our members. The research paper ‘Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community’, determined that the UK autism community preferred the use of ‘identity first’ language as opposed to ‘person first’ language.
“To be truly person-centred, all elements of the person have to be given equal recognition and respect. Identity-first language shows acceptance of what cannot be taken away from the person. It shows respect to the autistic individual for whom and what they are. It also promotes pride and positive self-esteem in autistic people and teaches society that being autistic is not automatically wrong or detrimental. We shouldn’t need to say ‘person’ first in order to remind ourselves that autistic people are people”Kenny L, Hattersley C, Molins B, Buckley C, Povey C, Pellicano E. Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism. 2016 May;20(4):442-62. doi: 10.1177/1362361315588200. Epub 2015 Jul 1. PMID: 26134030.
Keep a file with information on why you think the person or you may have an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)
The autism spectrum quotient (AQ-10) tool is recommended for use with potentially autistic adults who do not have a moderate or severe learning disability. This may help identify whether you or the person you support should be referred for a comprehensive autism assessment.
Complete and take to your GP:
- NICE Guidance – Autism spectrum Quotient (AQ10 Test)
- Information on anything different you noticed during the pregnancy and childhood (if known) to the present day, including information from school, friends, college, family, work colleagues.
- Information on any incidents that have happened which make you think ASC may be the diagnosis.
- Some information on what Autism is (General Practitioners are not specialists in all fields).
- Take all this information along to your GP and ask for a referral for assessment.
If your GP disagrees or cannot refer you, we suggest you contact your local Patient Advisory Liaison Service (PALS) for details of how to get a second opinion.
If your GP cannot refer, or the GP or the second opinion disagrees with you, you might want to think about a private assessment.
If you gain a diagnosis privately, then sharing relevant information with your GP can ensure all relevant services are put in place to support you.
If you have additional diagnoses and medication is required then you can discuss with your GP moving into shared care. If your GP agrees, this means they may prescribe your medication as per advice from your private Psychiatrist.
More Information …
For more information visit:
- The National Autistic Society website: What is Autism?
- The Art of Autism website: Understanding the spectrum a comic strip explanation