Getting a diagnosis
The Autism act states that each authority must ensure there is a clear pathway for adults who suspect that they are on the autistic spectrum and would like to request a diagnosis.

All GP practices in this area have been informed of the pathway but sadly we are hearing from some of our members that their GP either doesn't understand how to request a diagnosis or isn't following correct procedure. If this has happened to you then please get in touch with Kizzy by e mailing landm@nas.org.uk. She sits on the diagnosis, assessment and support sub-group of Lancashire's Autism partnership board and it's so important that they know which GPs need more information to ensure that the diagnostic process is followed correctly.

What is the procedure for an adult diagnosis?
If you believe that you might be on the autistic spectrum then the first step is to go to your GP and request that they carry out a very short assessment with you which is basically just a few short questions. All GPs should be aware of this test and it might be worthwhile contacting the practice before your appointment to make sure they are aware that this is what you would like so they are prepared and you don't have to go back again. The GP can't refuse to give you this assessment - it is your right under the Autism Act! If you score above a certain amount then this is an indicator that you might be on the spectrum and a further assessment is necessary.
This further assessment will be carried out by a clinical psychologist called Vikki Bliss but before this takes place the GP will need to request funding and they do this by writing a letter to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Once the GP has received approval from the CCG you will be placed on Vikki's waiting list. The waiting time is currently around 6 months but the whole process will take longer - depending on how quickly your GP sends off the letters and how long the CCG take to authorise payment. It is possible to get a private assessment with Vikki if you don't wish to apply for, or wait for, CCG funding. We can provide details on request.

Vikki will send you some forms in the post for you to fill in before her meeting with you and, as far as I'm aware, she will tell you at that meeting if you are on the autistic spectrum. You will receive a formal written report a few weeks later.

If you receive a diagnosis then you will be offered five follow up sessions with her to talk through your feelings and to ask any questions you may have. You can take these over an extended period of time as naturally it might take some people time to digest the news - even if it's not a surprise and comes as a relief.

Receiving any diagnosis, no matter what age, can be a confusing and upsetting time and our branch is here to help and support you during this process in whatever way we can. Good luck if you are embarking on this pathway and please remember we are here for you.