Today was the day that I visited my GP to ask for a “Formal Diagnostic Assessment” for Asperger Syndrome. This was a big deal for me and took some working up to. I was quite anxious when I went in. Here’s what happened during the appointment.
The usual formalities were done (confirm name etc.) and the doctor asked what I wanted. I said that I believe I have Aspergers and he asked me to explain why I think this. I had written some notes as I find this helps me remember the things I want to say in meetings (I find this very useful at work for maintaining conversational fluidity) and told him that I had discussed the matter with the National Autistic Society who advised me to ask my GP to refer me for a Formal Diagnostic Assessment. I then set about listing the traits that I exhibit that lead me to conclude Aspergers. (I bet this all looked fairly typically Aspergers.)
He then asked how I was during childhood. I told him I was bullied relentlessly and hung out with the other misfits and outcasts. I said I was academically fairly bright, achieving AA in GCSE Science (98% in my Science GCSE mock) but getting a range of results down to an F. I did my degree in Biology.
I also made a point to tell him about a job that I now think I lost because of Aspergers, although I had never heard of the condition at the time. Three years ago I was doing well in a job and then got a new manager who, within a couple of months of appearing on the scene, had managed me out of the business (i.e. I jumped before I was pushed). The results I was achieving in the role (and being paid bonus on) were really pretty good, however this manager thought my relationships with the customer were somewhat lacking. With hindsight, it is now clear to me that had I had a diagnosis at that time, the company should more reasonably have supported me in some specific aspects of the role. With a diagnosis, the protection of the Equality Act 2010 becomes a possibility.
Well, my doctor readily agreed that many Aspergers traits seem to be present and that he would be very happy to refer me to a psychiatrist for assessment. So far, so good, and all of the above really was quite painless.
All this was my “best case scenario”.
Next came something of a glitch. My local NHS area has failed to commission any diagnostic services for adult Aspergers. Children are covered, as are previously diagnosed adolescents moving into adulthood. If you are a new adult Aspergers case in this area, you simply can’t get diagnosed. My GP says that this a know issue that gets some attention at the commissioning meetings he attends and will hopefully be resolved in the near future.
All I can do is simply wait for Adult Aspergers diagnostic services to be commissioned locally and join the backlog. Apparently, under normal circumstances there would be something like a six week wait to see the psychiatrist.
My Aspergers Symptoms
Here are the symptoms I presented to my GP:
- Inability to make and sustain relationships. I have made two long-term friends in my adult life, plus a wife.
- Slow to pick up on social cues. I often don’t realise that a conversation is over until the other person glares at me and realise that I have lingered a little too long.
- Occasional trouble judging other peoples personal space. This really is the sort of thing that causes people to find you weird and creepy.
- Supremely bad at chit chat. I answer other peoples questions and then the exchange fizzles out. Later I realise that I should ask the same questions back to constitute a conversation.
- I have a tendency to over explain things.
- A preference for the same topics of conversation time after time.
- Very much overwhelmed by social situations. Bamboozled by more than come conversation going on at once.
- Hypersensitive to noise, particularly multiple simultaneous sounds.
- Hypersensitive to certain types of light. I find some light bulbs to be far too yellow.