Having delved into the online autism community in the last few months, since receiving my own diagnosis, I’ve seen a lot of discussion around those who self diagnose their autism. I have many opinions on this, so I thought it could be an interesting post to share some of them!
Firstly I want to say that although I never publicly self diagnosed, I knew for a solid 3-4 years that I was autistic, before getting my official diagnosis. Some of that is due to how long I had to wait, and partly because I didn’t want to put myself out there like that only to then not be diagnosed with autism, and be back at square one wondering why I’m like I am. If I had to deal with that, I didn’t want to have to deal with explaining that to other people too.
Having said that though, I think that if I had been more open about having diagnosed myself, and that I was waiting for an official diagnosis, I would have already had more understanding of autism/the community, and I would have had that support system already in place when I got my diagnosis.
It seems to me, from what I’ve seen, the the issues most people have with self diagnosis is the idea that they could be wrong, or intentionally ‘faking it’, but I’ve also noticed that most of those who are self diagnosing are either waiting for their assessment, or are not in a position to be able to obtain a diagnosis. I admit I’d likely be more suspicious, or at least less accepting, of someone in a position where they could easily be diagnosed, but have chosen not to be.
While we live in a world where most of our traits, as autistic people, are seen as being strange/weird/unacceptable/quirky by the general public though, I would never want to be like that towards other autistic people. I’d rather work on the basis that everyone who says they’re autistic really is, regardless of if they’ve received a diagnosis or not, and if I’m proven wrong that’ll suck, but I’ll know that I’ve not pushed someone, or helped to push someone, out of a community that they need.
There’s also the fact that, for girls especially, autism resembles so many different things that even if someone ends up not being autistic, chances are they really thought they were autistic, and not being is likely gonna throw them through a bit of a loop. A genuine mistake, especially one that affects the emotions of all involved, shouldn’t be held against anyone in my opinion.
So yeah, that’s basically my entire opinion! Be nice to people, believe them, and get on with your own life! Most people just want to be accepted and appreciated, and most people won’t lie to receive that.