Autism is lifelong and there are many autistic adults within Northern Ireland, however, prevalence figures for adults are often outdated and inaccurate. Many autistic people have only received a later diagnosis of autism, as knowledge of autism has increased.

Woman smiles for a photograph while outdoors

Many autistic adults report seeking assistance after recognising the struggles they endured across their life as being caused by their unsupported neurodivergence, often after supporting a loved one through the process of an assessment and realising they are just like them in lots of ways. 

There are also those who self-identify or recognise that they have autistic traits but who have not progressed a formal assessment or diagnosis. Barriers continue to exist such as issues with being referred for an adult diagnostic assessment, and long waiting times (in some geographical locations this exceeds five years).

Read Kathy's story

As far back as I can remember I had intricate thoughts and ideas which have made me unique. As a young child in early primary school, I used to spend most of my time just doing my own thing and not really making much sense to people. My ever-intriguing thoughts and ideas were locked up in my head and I couldn’t communicate them with others.
Marc Segal, 'Coping: A Survival Guide'

Increasingly, there are many adults who seek a formal autism assessment to give them answers, further information, and access to support. Often, the first step of this process is to visit your GP and request a referral for adult autism assessment through your Health and Social Care Trust. There are also private assessment and diagnosis options available. 

Further Information

If you would like further information and support regarding adult diagnosis, please contact our Family Support Team on 028 9040 1729 (Option 1).