#Autism & Me : My Diagnosis

Sam Downie
Feb 22, 2018 · 2 min read

It took me two decades to get my Autism (ASD) diagnosis.

But for years.. I was misdiagnosed. The so-called “professionals” mistook my stimming for hyperactivity.

A computerised test performed by a psychiatrist at Bristol University (which my dad took me to) when I was in my teens, proved that “there was something strange about me, but they didn’t know what it was” (this was in the late 1980's). But the “professionals” didn’t have a clue, as I seemed a “normal teenager”.

By the time these sad excuses they call psychiatrists figured out that I had Autism (ASD), it was too late for the intervention that could have given me a normal childhood. I was age 42 when I received my diagnosis, in October 2017.

My dad first brought me in for psychiatrist assessment (at a local university) when I was 8 , but they failed to do their job, in recognising I had a form of Autism.

Of course this resulted in more scars from bullying and abuse. All during the most crucial years of my psychological development, as a teen to adult.

Autism is dangerously undiagnosed because…

  • Psychiatrists aren’t educated properly. If a child under 12 so much as fidgets during diagnosis, they ignore all other symptoms and go “hay, it’s.. ADHD” instead… or “it’s too complex” or “you are just normal (now stop waisting my time”.
  • Psychiatrists and doctors do misdiagnose and ignore the person’s needs. Plus, changing the labels when today’s psychiatrists still don’t know how to diagnose these conditions makes it even less likely that the next kid who walks into that health office will get a correct diagnosis before it’s too late.
  • Some parents won’t recognise that a child has Autism. Mine didn’t, and my mum still doesn’t to this day.
  • A struggling adult with undiagnosed Autism might not realise that he/she isn’t neurotypical (NT). Plus a struggling adult with undiagnosed Autism might not have the money to undergo a professional assessment, either by the NHS or a Private Doctor… (my advice in the UK, is to go via the NHS, as the diagnosis holds a lot of water to it!).
  • Many young people and Adults with Autism, don’t live long enough to get a diagnosis. You have … Abusive parents and then controlling partners, oh and bullies, and societal exclusion, oh.. and ignorance of medics, and other government bodies / staff.. heck all kinds of people . All these shorten our expected lifespan significantly.

And that’s just the beginning of it.

Autism is not over-diagnosed. It’s under-diagnosed, ignored and unrecognised.

My story continues, by me talking about living with Autism, including how it affects #mentalhealth . Stick around to learn more, want to talk ? do visit my website at www.dsoundz.co.uk

Sam Downie

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