Please note: this page has been compiled based on my experience as a UK-based person, living in England, who has managed to obtain an NHS assessment and diagnosis. I am very fortunate in having had access to this, and am merely conveying how I went about it.
All I ask, here, is that you exercise caution in following the advice, below.
And please, please, do your research – thoroughly, and carefully.
Wondering whether you might be autistic?
First off, a few quizzes/assessments. It’s a good idea to take tests first to get an indication of where you’re at – you might find you have traits but not enough to take further, you might be on the borderline (I have come out as ‘not quite’ on some, because my autism is atypical), or a good way along.
To get an NHS diagnosis (in the UK, which is where I live, and where I was assessed), you need to go through your GP (general practitioner).
There are paid-for private routes to diagnosis out there which mean shorter waiting times, but you’d have to balance this against the possibility that your diagnosis might not be accepted ‘officially’.
If you do pursue the NHS route, it’s best to go to the GP with some written evidence prepared – I mapped myself against the DSM-5 (DSM-V) criteria, which is an American framework, but one with which the NHS is very familiar. I went to see my GP armed with an eight-page typed up document(!) detailing more or less everything.
I’ve added the verbatim text from this document to this site, in case someone finds it insightful.
This can really help your present your situation – especially if, like me, you find yourself getting stressed by having to explain everything verbally. In my case, it also sped up the screening process once I’d been referred.
A word of warning: the DSM-V criteria are horribly focused on “deficits” and “disturbances”, but it’s kind of necessary to play that game when you’re seeking out assessment or services…
For children, you also have to go through your GP. Again, I’d recommend going along armed with written evidence. Some children’s services use questionnaires as a method of initial screening (often one each for parents and your child’s education provider) – if you can persuade your GP to obtain these ‘up front’ ahead of making the referral, it can save loads of time.
This blog post describes my personal experience of the assessment itself. It’s obviously unique to me, but might offer some insights.