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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Costs and Benefits of an Autism Diagnosis

In summary then, receiving an autism diagnosis can act as a permission slip, for belonging in the autistic community, for relief from judgement (by self and others), and for access to tailored services and workplace adjustments. However, an autism diagnosis is a double-edged sword and may also come with costs (Ruiz Calzada et al., 2012). For example, autistic people diagnosed in adulthood have reported their experience of being diminished in others’ eyes, especially in the workplace (Romualdez et al., 2021). Such negative experiences may be exacerbated if the thing that drove them to seek a diagnosis was some sort of crisis: mental ill-health or burnout. As a result, many autistic people choose not to disclose their identity at work, fearing negative effects (not without reason) and thus missing out on some of the potential practical benefits (Thompson-Hodgetts et al., 2020). Most strikingly, recent research reports that one-third of autistic doctors had disclosed to no one at all at work (Shaw et al., 2023). Another example of a diagnosis having the precise opposite of the desired effect occurs in mental health services which require a primary or solitary psychiatric diagnosis such that an autism diagnosis becomes an exclusion criterion for access.