There is a large controversy in the autistic community. It is the validity of self diagnosis. Self diagnosis is when suspected autistic person says they are autistic but do not have an official medical diagnosis by a psychiatrist or a neuropsychologist. Saying it is not valid is being classist, ableist, racist, sexist, etc.
The autistic dark web says self diagnosis is not valid. A prominent member of the Autistic Dark Web says :
The popularity of self-diagnosis and ‘self-identifying’ as being autistic could potentially harm the rights of those who have been clinically diagnosed with the condition. How can so few people see this?
Know Your History
May of the people who are told they aren’t really autistic are AFAB (assigned female at birth). This is because when autism was named and started to be noticed, it was thought as a boy’s condition. Anyone would notice that people who are self diagnosed where children in the 1980’s, 1990’s and earlier. This was because diagnostic criteria hadn’t caught up when these autistics were children. Getting an evaluation and diagnosis as an adult is near impossible. I was one of the lucky ones because I was diagnosed with ADHD in 1988, I was 6. That was UNHEARD of. A girl in the 80’s getting any type of neurodivergent diagnosis. This helped me with my autism diagnosis.
Denying Self Diagnosis is Classist
Why is invalidation of a self diagnosis classist? For an adult, access to a proper autism evaluation is extremely hard to find. When one does find it, most of the the time insurance does not cover it. The price range for an adult autism evaluation ranges from $1800 upwards to $3,000. That is, if they will even see you. Do you have that much money lying around? I sure do not.
The professionals that can give an official diagnosis often question their adult clients.
Why do you want a diagnosis?
What good would it do you?
Aren’t you just wasting my time?
Why waste your money?
You just want to be like your child, don’t you?
Denying Self Diagnosis is Ableist
Why is denying self diagnosis ableist? When an adult goes to a professional to seek professional diagnosis, the professional often sees the mental illness or other diagnoses the client may have instead of addressing what the client would like to address. The professionals use this to gaslight and brush the client off. All they see is the other diagnoses that the client may have. This includes mental illnesses, chronic illnessesThis makes the individual doubt themselves. They feel foolish and wonder why they even sought out a professional in the first place.
Denying Self Diagnosis is Racist
Why is denying self diagnosis racist? BIPOC are more likely to be diagnosed with other conditions than with autism. Autism is seen as a white male disability. This could not be farther from the truth. BIPOC are more likely to be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), conduct disorder and intermittent explosive disorder. If a white male were to seek diagnosis with the same signs, they would get an autism diagnosis.
Denying Self Diagnosis is Sexist
Why is denying self diagnosis sexist? Girls are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Girls are overlooked when seeking help. Autism is often seen as a boy’s disorder. The girls are often called the “lost girls.” The rain-man stereotype gets in the way when diagnosing girls. Autistic girls special interests are often seen as “normal.” Autistic girls are often masters at masking. Not all girls are like this though. Autistic girls should not be stereotyped. When a female child goes for an evaluation, the parent is often gaslit. This is especially true if she can speak. When an adult female goes to be diagnosed, she is often told she wants to be more like her children. She is asked “Are you sure it is not just anxiety or borderline personality disorder?”
Only reason I got diagnosed was because I was evaluated for ADHD when I was 6 and had my 30 page report from the evaluation. They gave enough information in the report for the neuropsych to give me my diagnosis.
Self Diagnosis is Valid
Self diagnosis is valid. In most cases, adults seeking professional diagnosis have already self diagnosed. That is what brought them to a professional to gain an official diagnosis. I did self diagnose before seeking a professional diagnosis. Most people do this before seeking help with what they think they may have. Someone would not seek a professional unless they think they may have that condition, why would self diagnosis of autism be different.