In The Politics of Autism, I discuss evaluation, diagnosis, and the uncertainty of prevalence estimates.
Lily Altavena at The Detroit Free Press:
It wasn't until Ashley Marchuck started experiencing frequent anxiety attacks at work — almost every day — that she started to suspect she might be autistic.
Working at Starbucks, she was bombarded with loud noises such as the whirr of the coffee machines, the music playing and the conversations among customers. The sensory overload was too much. The anxiety attacks, leaving her sweaty and panicked, wouldn't stop. Marchuck took a leave of absence to figure out what was going on. At 31 years old, she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
She'd realized that her anxiety attacks were a symptom of sensory issues related to autism, she said.
"It basically takes a mental crisis to get diagnosed," said, Marchuk, now 32. "And that's how it was with me, unfortunately, you know, having those anxiety attacks for months."
Brian Calley, former Michigan lieutenant governor and vice chair of the Autism Alliance of Michigan Board of Directors, said identification will expand as early childhood programs expand in the state. And he said pediatricians are conducting more developmental screenings but noted that such screenings won't help vulnerable populations who can't regularly go to the pediatrician's office.
Calley, who is the father of a child with autism, added that society also needs to reduce stigma around the condition. He remembers feeling unsure about seeking a diagnosis at first for his child, fearing what a diagnosis could mean.
"There's still some of that, that happens where people might notice that there's issues challenges, problems, delays, and not ready to seek a diagnosis because of societal stigma," he said.