Duh Files: Associations Between Co-Occurring Conditions and Age of Autism Diagnosis: Implications for Mental Health Training and Adult Autism Research

Who ever would have thought that not getting an autism diagnosis, self or clinical, could increase mental health issues?

The whole autistic community, thats who.

We have been saying this for decades but the “experts” just studied this in 2022.

A study was published on August 27, 2022 in the journal Autism Research, owned by Wiley Periodicals. This study was funded by the National Intestate of Mental Health.

“Adult autism studies are increasingly comprised of later diagnosed adults, yet little is known about how these adults compare to those diagnosed earlier in life.”

We have been saying this for decades yet no one listens. This is not an original idea. We have been literally screaming this into the void. Its a void because no one listens. That is, until now.

Study Study Participants

This study examines medical and psychiatric conditions that are reported by autistic adults. It documents differences between those who are diagnosed as children and those who are diagnosed as adults. This is also categorized but age groups and sex assigned at birth. They only allowed participants who have a clinical diagnosis.

There were 4,657 participants. These participants had consented to their data being used from their participation in SPARK. I do not endorse SPARK. I do think this is important information for the so called experts to get their hands on so we as autistics can be taken more seriously. Remember, a broken clock is right twice a day.

All participants must be autistic adults legally independent (not have a guardian), have a clinical diagnosis after 18 years of age and live in the United States. Informed consent was obtained online.

Study Design

People who were already participating in the SPARK project were asked to complete online questionnaires. Demographic, psychiatric and medical conditions were indicated on the questionnaires. This was done via the SPARK portal.

Background Questionnaire

The background questionnaire collected demographic data of each participant. It asked gender, race, ethnicity, education, income, living situation and employment. Participants were also asked about their educational history and any accommodations or services they received during school.

Medical Questionnaire

The medical questionnaire asks if the participants have different medical, developmental, psychiatric, and “behavioral” conditions. It came with the instruction to “Please select all conditions you have been diagnosed with by a professional.” The term used in this questionnaire was “endorsed” to differentiate between self diagnosis and professional.

Results and Discussion

This study evaluated psychiatric and medical conditions in a SPARK sample of legally independent autistic adults. The results from this study highlighted the importance of considering difference in self vs caregiver assisted samples.

According to this study, autistic adults who were diagnosed as adults were significantly more likely to report lifetime diagnosis of psychiatric conditions, even after controlling for age at reporting, intellectual disability, sex at birth, compared to child hood diagnosed adults.

These findings highlight the need to include age of autism diagnosis as a descriptive characteristic of autism samples, as well as greater attention to the presence of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autistic adults. Because these rates are so high in later diagnosed autistics, it suggests a critical need to include information about autism diagnosis, differential diagnosis and treatment in psychiatry, psychology and other training programs as a first step in promoting equitable access to mental health care.

We, as autistic adults, have been saying this for decades. I am sure y’all are with me when I say DUH!

As this was a SPARK study and I do not agree with them keeping autistic DNA in a database, they at least used their evil for good. I still don’t trust them. Again, a broken clock is right twice a day.

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