Preparation for adolescent or adult diagnosis

How to prepare for an autism diagnosis?

Meeting a specialist to learn more about our differences may be stressful. For the best results, we must tell the whole truth and not hide our difficulties. It is normal and common for people to cry while doing this exercise, because it often brings back bad memories, but you should not feel bad about that. When meeting with the professional for a diagnosis, we must bring with us documentation and observations from other professionals, but we can also bring a document from a professor or a report from an employer related to our challenges. To properly prepare a list of our differences, we should try to remember all the comments that loved ones or other people have made to us. Afterwards, we should get help from family or loved ones in consulting the long list of traits on this page.

Preparing for the adolescent or adult diagnostic encounter

Going to our meeting for a diagnosis can be nerve-racking. People have often waited a long time and want answers. It’s imperative to be prepared.

Mental preparation

Multiple diagnosis

Autism rarely happens on its own. It is possible and even likely that the person will receive several diagnoses, some of which are not expected.

False trail

Sometimes people think they’re autistic because the manifestations of their differences resemble autism. But getting the right diagnosis is more important than trying to confirm that we were right.

All the truth

It’s often difficult to name challenges and remember obstacles. The encounter can seem negative and focused on the less pleasant aspects of life. But it’s a necessary step. It’s very important not to hide anything, as the professional is not there to judge you. They need the real answers in order to make the right diagnosis.


Many teenagers and adults have learned to mask their differences in an attempt to appear normal. If possible, it’s best to stop masking during the assessment. If this is not possible, naming what is being done to mask can help the professional understand.

Document preparation

Prepare a copy of any documents that closely or remotely address some of the challenges encountered.

List all differences

People are often unaware of how different they are. That’s why it’s much more effective to review this list with people who are close to you, or who were close to you as a child.

This list isn’t just a list of autism-related peculiarities. It’s a tool to make sure you don’t forget anything important about your differences.

The senses


  • Hypersensitivity to certain sounds
  • Hyposensitivity to sound
  • Sounds disturb you more than others
  • Sounds provoke more significant reactions from you than others
  • Misophony
  • Different processing of sound information
  • Receiving comments or complaints about your reactions to sounds
  • Having an absolute ear (recognize notes without prior auditory reference)
  • Difficulty processing sounds during phonecalls
  • Particularities related to processing music (crying, being irritated, becoming very excited, etc.)
  • Anything out of the ordinary in relation to sound
  • Synesthesia (sounds being associated with other sensory inputs like see colors, smell a smell, etc.


  • Hypersensitivity to certain odors
  • Hyposensitivity to odors
  • Odors disturb you more than others
  • Odors provoke more significant reactions from you than others
  • Different processing of olfactory information
  • Receiving complaints or comments about your reactions to odors
  • Anything out of the ordinary related to the sense of smell


  • Hypersensitivity to certain visuals, colors, patterns, etc.
  • Having significant reactions to certain visuals, colors, patterns, etc.
  • Different processing of visual information
  • Receiving complaints or comments about your reactions to visual information or its processing
  • Receiving negative remarks about the way you look
  • Having significant reactions to light
  • Looking at things in a different way
  • Having a fixed gaze
  • Anything that is out of the ordinary in terms of sight and vision


With people

  • Differences in how you interact with people regarding touch
  • Different ways of wanting to be touched
  • Having significant reactions to certain types of contact
  • Receiving complaints or comments about your reactions to touch
  • Receiving negative remarks about the kinds of physical touch you use in your interactions with others
  • Anything out of the ordinary related to physical contact
  • Significant reactions or difficulty with cuddling
  • Difficulty with restraining oneself from touching
  • Significant reactions or difficulty with shaking hands
  • Specific difficulties with either surface touch or deeper touch

Other areas of difference

  • Level of comfort with touching animals
  • Ability to comfortably wear clothing made with different types of fabrics or labels
  • Comfort with touching the textures of various everyday objects
  • Ability to tolerate various food textures
  • Use of tactile rituals to cope

Additional particularites related to the senses

  • Synesthesia

Relationships, interactions

Love, dating

  • Extraordinary difficulties in approaching people
  • Different perceptions
  • Difficulty understanding signals, hints or other subtleties
  • Receiving negative remarks or reproaches during flirtation
  • Difficulty understanding social codes and etiquette
  • Disinterest in social activities involved in dating
  • Difficulty understanding “no”
  • Emotional dependence
  • Harassment


  • No sexual attraction
  • Low libido
  • Difficulty understanding social codes
  • Difficulty understanding consent
  • Difficulty setting limits or boundaries
  • Difficulties with touch related to sexuality
  • Disliking being “charmed” or influenced by the other person
  • Difficulty understanding your partner


  • Difficulty making friends and forming bonds
  • Difficulty understanding expectations
  • Receiving negative remarks while trying to make friends
  • Difficulty understanding social codes and etiquette
  • Experiencing a lot of rejection
  • Difficulty respecting other people’s limits
  • Interactions are too frequent (according to friends)
  • Interactions are not frequent enough (according to friends)


  • Unusual attachment to family
  • Difficulty understanding the family bond
  • Little or no attachment to family


  • Looking others in the eye too much or too little
  • A tendency to lecture others
  • Wanting to be the boss instead of the boss
  • Difficulties with understanding and accepting hierarchies at work (ex. Always acting as if you are the boss)



  • Difficulty understanding facial expressions
  • Difficulty understanding the unspoken meanings of communication
  • Difficulty understanding innuendo
  • Difficulty with understanding the implicit
  • Difficulty with visual metaphors or imagery
  • Interpreting expressions or figures of speech literally
  • Difficulty when people expect you to guess their intention or meaning
  • Different understanding of humor
  • Receiving negative remarks about a lack of empathy or about the way you display empathy
  • You don’t know when to stop talking about a subject


  • Language disorders
  • Having an unusual or inexplicable accent
  • Repetition of phrases, words or sounds (echolalia)
  • Speaking in a monotone
  • Speaking too slow or too fast
  • Speaking too loudly or too softly


  • Lacking a filter for what you say
  • You consider everyone else to have communication problems except you
  • Different communication style
  • Difficulty following a conversation
  • Not knowing if you’re being laughed at or not
  • Making lots of social mistakes
  • Your verbal communication is described as aggressive or as harassment
  • Discomfort with people playing characters (ex. street entertainers, etc.)

Rigid thinking and obsessions

  • Being rigid, anxious or obsessed with time or schedules
  • Being rigid, anxious or obsessive about the location of things and/or people (places at the table, etc.).
  • Being rigid, anxious or obsessed with laws and rules
  • Adhering to very specific methodologies for doing things
  • Adhering to special routines
  • Obsessions or fixations on specific things
  • Having stronger passions than the norm
  • Having different reactions to lying or cheating than the norm
  • OCD
  • Manias


  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sleep habits different from the norm

Changes / unforeseen events

  • Difficulty adapting to change or unexpected events
  • Significant reactions to change or unexpected events
  • Different attitude than the norm regarding change or unexpected events
  • Needing significant preparation for tasks and events
  • Receiving negative remarks from family and friends related to reactions to changes and unforeseen events
  • Having a more significant reaction than usual to someone you know getting a haircut
  • Having a more significant reaction than usual if the furniture in your house is moved
  • Disliking surprises

Coordination / motor / movements

  • Different posture
  • Movements performed differently than others
  • Spontaneous movements in certain situations
  • Incomprehension or difficulty with movements
  • Using different approaches than usual for movements
  • Problems with coordination
  • Difficulty controlling certain movements
  • Walking on your toes when you’re little
  • Forward and reverse pendulum movements
  • Arm or hand flapping


  • Aggressiveness
  • Anger
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical violence
  • Impulsivity


  • Major strengths
  • Major weaknesses
  • Differences in how they progress through the school curriculum
  • Difficulties with learning to read in particular
  • Any other learning differences

Differences regarding dislikes

  • Having deep dislikes or out-of-the-ordinary aversions

Gender identity

  • Differences in how you express femininity or masculinity
  • Lack of understanding of concepts relating to gender
  • Receiving a lot of comments about your gender expression
  • Transidentity


  • Emotions felt much more strongly
  • Emotions felt much less strongly
  • Difficulty identifying one’s own emotions
  • Difficulty identifying other people’s emotions
  • Even when named, difficulty with understanding emotion
  • Confusing emotions with one another
  • Not understanding the nuances between emotions
  • Receiving remarks or reproaches about your emotions

Power supply

  • Food rigidity
  • Episodes of bulimia
  • Episodes of anorexia
  • Other eating disorders
  • Particular eating habits
  • Difficulty with textures or colors
  • Requiring that different foods remain absolutely separate on the plate and don’t touch

Mental health

  • Episodes of depression
  • Episodes of self-harm
  • Panic / anxiety attacks
  • Generalized anxiety


  • Extraordinarily intense passions
  • Exceptional mastery of a subject
  • Atypical interests
  • Particularly intense interests
  • Collections and accumulation


  • Eating unusual or inedible things like paper
  • Clapping your hands
  • Biting
  • Aligning objects
  • A fascination with symmetry

Outside view

  • People say the person is different. What do they say?
  • People reproach them in ways that the person doesn’t understand. What do the other people say about them?
  • People often laugh at the person. What reason do the people give for laughing at them?

Methods for working

  • Using different techniques for working, memorizing or concentrating
  • Using compensatory strategies or avoidance
  • Needing a lot of time alone
  • Inability to work alone
  • Being more interested in objects than people
  • Being more interested in animals than people
  • Inability to stop a task before it is finished once you start it.
  • Low tolerance to stress and risk
  • Overanalysis

Other difficulties

  • Prosopagnosia (face recognition problems)
  • Difficulty obtaining a license or driving
  • Phobias
  • Underdeveloped or very underdeveloped sense of direction
  • Difficulty orienting oneself in space
  • Difficulty distinguishing left from right
  • Anything else that other people have considered abnormal. Don’t just rely on the current lifestyle in which the individual may have found sympathetic and understanding people who don’t make negative comments. Be sure to also refer to other parts of their life during which the person’s particularities were commented on by others.
  • Any other special features not listed

Adaptation of the content of the Bleuet atypique page, with the permission of the author