With more awareness and understanding of what autism looks like and how it might present, more and more people are seeking an autism assessment. Unfortunately, this increase has led to long waitlists to be assessed, and whilst we can’t do anything about the waitlists (sorry!), we do have some helpful advice regarding what you can do whilst you’re waiting.
Make sure you are on multiple waitlists
Remember, it is always easier to cancel a surplus appointment than it is to schedule a needed one. Also make sure you’ve explored all options for assessment, such as Telehealth appointments. These can be especially useful if you live in a regional or remote area
Call to get updates on your appointment
It can be a good idea to call (or email, or webchat if available) the clinic you’re on a waitlist with to check in and make sure everything is in order for your appointment. We recommend calling them no more than once every six months.
“Hi, my name is [first and last name], and I’m just calling to check up on my appointment with [clinician’s name] and make sure everything is in order.”
Looking for more tips for navigating visits to the doctor? Look no further than our guide for ‘Going to the GP about my mental health’ – whilst the guide has been tailored around mental health and Autistic women, it has some great tips for any Autistic person navigating doctor’s visits.
Set up systems to ensure you don’t miss your appointment
After the long wait for your assessment, there is nothing worse than missing your appointment. To prevent this happening, make sure you set up systems to remind yourself about the time and date of your upcoming appointment. This could be in the form of calendar reminders, post-it notes on the fridge, or even asking someone close to you to help you remember.
You can also create reminders for yourself to call and get updates in the lead up to your appointment.
Start learning from the community
While you wait for your autism assessment, it can be helpful to connect with the community to learn more about autism, meet other Autistic people and access helpful resources. This might be in the form of online groups, peer support or services like Autism Connect. There are peer support groups for all ages of Autistic people, and their parents and carers. You can find peer support groups near you with Autism Connect: Local Search.
Importantly, you don’t need a diagnosis to start making adjustments in your own life and home environment. Learning from Autistic people and your peers is a great way to identify changes you can make to better support yourself or someone you are caring for.
Start conversations with your workplace or school if you need adjustments
Whilst it can be difficult to enforce a school or workplace to provide reasonable adjustments without a formal diagnosis, it is still worth having a conversation with them about what help, support, and adjustments are available without a diagnosis.
You don’t need a formal diagnosis to get therapy support from occupational therapists or speech pathologists
Occupational therapists (OTs) and speech pathologists can help with many different aspects of being Autistic or otherwise neurodivergent. For example, OTs can help you with executive functioning difficulties, or figuring out your sensory profile.
You can also access Mental Health OTs through a Better Access to Mental Health Care Plan, which you can obtain through your GP.
There are many supports available that don’t require a diagnosis to access
Want more information or advice on anything discussed in this article? You can chat with one of our Autism Connect Advisors on 1300 308 699, or via email or webchat on our website from 8 am – 7 pm weekdays.