Autism – Pros & Cons of Early Diagnosis

Have you ever thought about the pros and cons of getting an early autism diagnosis? As someone who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism in their late 20’s, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I thought I would share a few of the pros and cons I’ve considered, but please be aware that these are my personal opinions and come from someone diagnosed with aspergers, so they may not apply to all situations or forms of autism. By the way, when I say “early autism diagnosis” what I generally mean is someone who is diagnosed in childhood, so they grow up knowing they have the condition and with access to services for the condition, as opposed to people who are diagnosed as adults and had to make it through childhood “blindly” in a sense.

Pros

  • Getting a childhood diagnosis opens up a world of support services and other helpful aids to you and your family. From school services to counseling and help with understanding social situations, the information and guidance offered can be immeasurable.
  • You understand from a young age what struggles you are dealing with. You have insight into where you likely have weaknesses and where you may need to work extra hard to succeed.
  • Your family, friends, and teachers understand your sensory issues and give you more leeway in how you react. In other words, you won’t get punished for being terrified of the sound of balloons popping and overreacting by yelling and crying, like I did in 4th grade 😦
  • A diagnosis of aspergers or high-functioning autism allows you to understand why you may feel so different from your peers. Growing up, I always felt like I was different, REALLY different, especially once I hit middle school and all my friends were into boys, makeup, clothes, and their social lives, and I couldn’t care less about any of it. It would have been nice to have known why I felt like such a misfit. To know that it wasn’t anything wrong with me, it was just the way I was made.

Cons

  • Being labeled with a disability from a young age can have a disheartening effect on a child. If the parents, teachers, and other adults around the child aren’t careful, the child can start to feel like they are “broken” or that they can’t do things that the “normal” kids can do. The worse cases of this I’ve seen personally are where the parents make excuses for their kids to the point that the kids never really have to work at anything. That isn’t good for anyone.
  • I wish it weren’t true, but being publicly labeled with autism can cause you to be bullied, mistreated, or left out by the other kids. I believe this is slowly improving, but we still have a long way to go. My husband is a special education teacher, and kids with special needs are still often isolated and can still be victims of social mockery. Unfortunately, it is somewhat human nature to exclude the “others” or the “outsiders”. We really need to work on that as a species.
  • Perhaps one of the best (and hardest) parts of growing up without a diagnosis is that you must learn to adapt. No one makes excuses for you. No one makes exceptions for you. No one medicates your problems away. I had to learn self-control, coping strategies, adaptive behaviors, and come up with creative ways to make life work. Was it hard? Hell yes! Was it good for me overall? Undoubtedly. It made me stronger and more able to cope with the stresses of the real world, which isn’t nearly as kind as school. With an early diagnosis, I would have missed out on those character building struggles.

So there are a few of my personal views on pros/cons of getting an early autism diagnosis. If you have any pros/cons of your own to share or want to share your opinion, please comment below! I would love to hear from you!

19 thoughts on “Autism – Pros & Cons of Early Diagnosis

  1. I wasn’t diagnosed until last year, I’m 43. It really makes no difference to me, I have a list of diagnoses that all boil down to CPTSD. I live my life the way that best suits me, caring for what my body, mind and spirit require. We are each here on our own journey and once we uncover our truth, remembering why we are here, everything else falls into place. That’s my experience and I honor and celebrate others paths to their truth. Love to you Maranda❀

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    1. I understand completely. And I personally feel that many of my most severe issues also stem more from severe cptsd rather than autism or other hereditary conditions. I love your accepting, open hearted attitude and outlook!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are all in this together sis, we each are figuring it out as we go. The friendship I have found in our little WordPress community is so supportive and loving ❀ Happy to call you a friend Maranda😊 Best to you always!

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  2. πŸ’œ Common Phrases from My Parents and Other Authority while I Was ‘Growing Up’ were “You ARE Too Clever!!!” “ARE YOU MAD!!!” “YOU WILL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING!!!”; so, suffice To Say, after UpSetting Several Mental Health ‘Experts’ I, Eventually, Was Diagnosed as Psychiatrically DisAbled in 2012, Excused from The WorkPlace and Put on DisAbility Pension Welfare Payments (after ALL Those Working Years of Paying My Taxes of course)…that May Seem like a “Con” when it’s actually a “Pro”; for example My Time is My Own, I Get To Write, I Meet Interesting People both Face-to-Face and Online (regardless of Mode of Communication, like letters, They are Still People; in fact I find Online Easier than Face-to-Face because I Don’t Have To Deal with InCompatible Auras along with Their Denial of Body Language and I Also Get To Take My LinearTime to Respond instead of a Knee Jerk ReAction that Degenerates a Civil, Polite, Courteous Conversation in to A FIGHT!!! whether Psychological or Physical) and I Have a Lovely Little Community Housing Home Designed for Singletons (I Don’t Like Being Around People Very Much) that I Named The Writers RASH (Retreat Abode Sanctuary Home), ALL is Well When “Autism is Diagnosed, Treated and Stabalised WithOut Medication

    …πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™…

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  3. Thank you so much for this information based on personal experience. What you write seems common sense, but we don’t stop to think about it if we aren’t dealing with it. I’ve been blessed to have a friend with an autistic son and have been able to see him mature and grow as he becomes better at accepting and adapting to things that seem irrelevant to us. Oh, and I still jump when a balloon pops and try to get away from the sound of it ASAP.

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  4. Thank you so much for this information based on personal experience. What you write seems common sense, but we don’t stop to think about it if we aren’t dealing with it. I’ve been blessed to have a friend with an autistic son and have been able to see him mature and grow as he becomes better at accepting and adapting to things that seem irrelevant to us. Oh, and I still jump when a balloon pops and try to get away from the sound of it ASAP. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! Thank you.
    I wish I received mine in my pre-teen years, it might have been easier…
    …just relieved that a Psychiatrist spotted the telltale signs behind my masking and opened up a whole new adventure for me:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I personally think getting any psychiatric diagnosis is a misstep unless a diagnosis is inescapable in terms of getting required treatment. If individuals can slide by then individuals had best slide by. The cons are too great. There is a lot of information on mental illnesses in the Web.

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  7. I have even decided that posting in support groups for mental illnesses on the Web is a huge error. This is the last post I am going to make in a support group for mental illness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure I saw much of a benefit at work, other than that maybe not knowing what I didn’t know made me naive and I therefore had to learn from experience, which is probably the best teacher anyhow. Luckily, I didn’t have much trouble accepting my diagnosis when I finally got it, probably because I had already had time to make peace with the fact that I thought I was autistic.

      Liked by 1 person

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