Autism, Diagnosis, Personal Stories

My autism diagnosis: the second assessment and my report

After my first assessment and processing what being diagnosed as autistic meant for me, it was a couple of months before I went for a second assessment which involved a number of psychometric tests. A gruelling day which left me exhausted, however I was relieved to have the assessment behind me. What I hadn't expected was the impact that reading the report assessment would have on me.

This diary entry was written a few weeks later after I had received my report.

It has been two weeks since I have received my psychological report, after my autism assessment which was about two months ago. For some reason I am feeling conflicted after having read the report, which is the complete opposite to how I felt after the first assessment when the psychologist diagnosed me as autistic.

There is something about seeing my scores on paper, and the interpretation / recommendations in the report that have me a little jumbled up. It has me questioning what I should do with this information.

The assessment

The second assessment included a battery of tests which lasted over 4 hours, and was followed by another discussion with the psychologist after he had looked over the initial scores.

Just like the first assessment, I was in a fluster when I arrived. Despite setting out early, I was stuck in traffic and arrived over 40 minutes late. Thankfully the team were understanding and put me at ease before the slog of tests.

It had been a long time since I have had to concentrate so hard for such a long period of time. I was truly glad by the time it was over .

Cognitive Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)
Attainment Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second Edition (WIAT-II)
Sensory Impairment Beery Visual Motor Integration (VMI)
Beery VMI test of Visual Perception
Beery VMI test of Motor Coordination
Executive Function The Hayling and Brixton Tests
Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB)
Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ)
Mental Health Beck AnxietyInventory
Beck Depression Inventory

These tests have given me an insight into my brain.

I now know that I am stronger when it comes to verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning, that I am when it comes to processing speed and working memory. In fact the working memory tests almost wiped me out and I needed some time to regather my energy before I was able to continue with the remaining tests.

I also know that my desire to get the answers right may have impacted some of my scores on timed items, and that my failure to realise that they were timed may have been because I didn't fully process the instructions I was being told (I think they forgot to tell me).

I rocked when it came to reading and spelling.

I am great at decoding pseudowords, but not at visual-motor integration. I also have moderately elevated anxiety and depression.

My responses to the Autism-Spectrum Quotient resulted in a score which indicates "clinically significant levels of autistic traits".

The report

A 24 page report is a lot to process, but for me it can be summarised by these four quotes:

"Helen is quite characteristic of how bright women often experience ASD, with relatively limited areas of impairment that can cause quite intense frustration and difficulty in certain respects. The findings from this assessment mean that any employer would need to be mindful of their obligations to disabled people under the Equality Act"

"Helen could be experiencing excessive anxiety in certain social or working contexts resulting from her ASD"

"Helen might benefit from acknowledging she has a weakness in these areas [interpersonal relationships and managing people at work] and discussing it with work".

"traditional career developmental path of promotion to a supervisory/managerial role is unlikely to reflect Helen’s skill set, and she will require some element of job redesign or role sharing for her to meet her occupational potential"

There it is. In black and white.

These were difficult statements for me to read. I struggle with the word disabled, and the thought that I should consider a job redesign or role sharing if I want to succeed. How can me stepping aside be equated with meeting my occupational potential. How would work react if I went in with this report, which seems to indicate that I don't have what it takes to fully do my job. That I am not enough.

This is not something that I want to do. I want to believe that there is a way that I can make the most of my strengths that will enable me to succeed without having to say that I can't do my job.

In my next post I will be sharing what happened when I opened up about being autistic at work.

Author image

About Helen Needham

Helen is the originator and founder of Me.Decoded. A passionate advocate for Neurodiversity, - diagnosed as autistic in her 40's after a lifetime of feeling like she was on the outside looking in.
  • England