I think I might have autism and I was wondering how I could go about getting a diagnosis, and if you have any psychiatrists you recommend. I’m feeling very scared.
First of all, thanks for reaching out to AlterHéros with your question. It’s really understandable to feel scared when you’re trying to figure something like this out about yourself. Something that’s really important to know is that there’s nothing “wrong” with having autism or being autistic. It can be scary to think about potentially being part of a group of people who are often misunderstood and not treated with the respect they deserve, but being autistic is not a bad thing, it’s just the way that some people are. In fact, in a lot of ways, being autistic is pretty awesome.
If you think you might be autistic, there are a few ways you can approach getting a diagnosis. Since you’ve indicated that you’re over 18 years old, it will unfortunately be difficult to get the assessment process covered by medicare (assuming you have coverage in the first place).
There is one clinic in Montréal which will do an assessment for autism for adults that is supposed to covered by RAMQ (medicare). They can be found here: http://cevamtl.com/en/services
There is also the clinic CENTAM which may cover some aspects of evaluation under RAMQ but you would have to ask them specifically what might be covered, if anything. www.centam.ca
There’s also the CÉPAM which has two psychologists who do assessment and diagnosis for children as well as adults. www.autismemontreal.com/en
Dr. Isabelle Hénault at the Clinique Autisme Asperger de Montréal (www.clinique-autisme-
asperger-mtl.ca) is generally well recommended by those who have seen her, but she also frequently has a very long waiting list. There are also other psychologists and psychiatrists at that same clinic who may have more availability.
If you are currently in school, you might consider checking with your school’s disability services office to see if they offer assistance in accessing assessments. Most disability services offices are not equipped to provide an assessment for autism in-house, but they may have a specific procedure for how students can go about pursuing a diagnosis.
You may also want to consider why you are seeking a formal diagnosis. If you are trying to access accommodations at work or school, then generally having a formal diagnosis is required. A formal diagnosis can also feel validating if you are looking for some kind of external assessment of whether or not you are autistic, however, it’s important to remember that psychiatrists and psychologists aren’t “experts” when it comes to autism; they use certain tools and assessments methods which are based on a specific set of criteria, but those criteria are limited in many ways. A well-researched self-diagnosis, or a “peer-diagnosis” from an autistic person who knows you very well can be equally as valid as a diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
The book “I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults” by author Cynthia Kim may also be a useful resource. It’s available in print and e-book format.
If you do decide to pursue a diagnosis, remember that no matter what the outcome, you’re still the same person you were before having a specific label attached to you (or not). Having a formal diagnosis can be useful in ways, but it’s not the most significant part of being autistic. Good luck with however you choose to proceed.
Feel free to writeback if you have any other questions and comments.
Neuro/Diversities project coordinator