What you need to know:
For anyone who suspects they have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and aims to obtain a diagnosis,
they can get assessed by being referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist through their family doctor or
by contacting the Mental Health Centralized Intake if they live in Winnipeg. Not every psychiatrist/
psychologist is experienced with people on the spectrum though, and if this is the case with the person
you speak to, you can request a further referral to someone who is or contact them yourselves;
however you will need to pay the costs for doing so in the latter scenario. Some health insurance
providers cover some or all of these costs, so check where you stand with yours before you act.
What is this video about?
Though the majority of people with ASD are diagnosed as children, there is a certain percentage of
people who are not diagnosed until adulthood. The confirmation of being on the autism spectrum
gives clarity to a lot of questions someone might have about certain behaviours and inclinations they
have noticed in themselves; conversely various matters and parts of one’s life can become complicated
after receiving a diagnosis as well.
How was this video developed?
The producers(s) reached out to a number of self-advocates and spoke to them about their experiences
being diagnosed in adulthood; what motivated them to get a diagnosis, how their diagnosis helped
them and what difficulties it created, and what the pros and cons are of receiving a diagnosis as an
adult instead of in childhood.
What were the findings?
The self-advocates interviewed by the producer(s) often expressed that confusion and frustration
about certain behaviours they engaged in, social impediments they had in comparison to neurotypical
people and generally feeling “different” than others and/or the presence of such traits in their children
and other family members are what motivated them to seek an autism diagnosis.
Advantages the self-advocates said their diagnosis brought them include:
- Understanding the cause of particular behaviours and impediments that have affected them and set them apart from others
- Being able to identify what supports they need to assist them in fields such as employment and social interaction
- Having a greater basis and confidence to advocate for themselves and seek appropriate supports and accommodations
Challenges the self-advocates said their diagnosis brought them include:
- A lack of support availability due to provincial supports and resources being largely focused on children
- Additional resource scarcity and complications for people traditionally classified as having Aspergers’ Syndrome after the classification was re-labelled under the banner of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) in 2013
- Not having their concerns being taken seriously due to the perception that adults should be able to navigate and solve problems independently, and that “high-functioning” autistic people require little to no outside assistance
How can you use these findings?
These findings demonstrate the experience people on the spectrum have being diagnosed as adults,
what motivates them to seek a diagnosis in adulthood along with the advantages and disadvantages
an adult diagnosis brings. You can use the following resources to learn more about obtaining an autism
diagnosis and get one for yourself:
Asperger Manitoba (Diagnosis And Treatment): Section on the Aspergers Manitoba website that
provides information about obtaining an autism diagnosis as an adult along with additional resources.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Manitoba: Website that provides Manitobans with information about
autism spectrum disorder.
Information for Manitobans with Disabilities: Resource on the Manitoba government’s website that provides information about disabilities.
Mental Health Centralized Intake: An organization you can contact if you live in Winnipeg that will
connect you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for an autism assessment.