Getting your own diagnosis as an autism twin mom

Text on a sign which reads "self care isn't selfish"

As you settle into your twins’ diagnoses, you may start to learn more about neurodivergence and wonder if you may be autistic or ADHD yourself. Life is full of unexpected turns, and sometimes, those twists lead us to profound self-discovery. Coming to this realisation can be both enlightening and overwhelming.

Learning more about yourself

It often starts subtly. Perhaps you notice that some of the traits your child exhibits—their sensory sensitivities, their need for routine, or their unique ways of processing the world—feel oddly familiar. As you dive deeper into understanding your child’s diagnosis, you might start seeing parallels in your own life. The behaviors that once seemed quirky or just part of who you are begin to take on a new meaning. You may have been diagnosed with something else in the past, like anxiety, depression or OCD.

Is a diagnosis worth it?

Deciding to pursue an autism or ADHD diagnosis for yourself can be a significant step. It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions: curiosity, anxiety, and even relief. Many adults who go through this process describe it as finally finding a missing piece of their personal puzzle. For some, it’s a way to understand themselves better and to reframe past experiences with a new perspective. Some people decide they will self-diagnose too, which is valid. Not everyone can afford to go through an lengthy and expensive diagnostic process.

What is the process for getting diagnosed?

Getting a diagnosis as an adult typically involves several steps. You might start by discussing your observations with a doctor or therapist. The assessment usually includes a detailed history of your development, behavior, and experiences, along with standardised tests designed to identify autistic or ADHD traits. While the process can be lengthy and sometimes emotionally taxing, many find it incredibly validating. Having a professional acknowledge and understand your experiences can be a powerful affirmation. Read more about the diagnostic process in different countries here:

Reframing your life

One of the profound impacts of an adult diagnosis is the way it can reframe your entire life. Behaviors or challenges that once seemed perplexing now have an explanation. Social struggles, sensory sensitivities, or the feeling of always being a bit “different” start to make sense. This reflection can be both healing and liberating, offering a new narrative that is more compassionate and understanding of your journey.

While there are many positives, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges. Receiving an autism or ADHD diagnosis as an adult can bring up complex emotions and require significant adjustments. You may need to advocate for yourself in new ways, seeking accommodations at work or in social settings. It might also affect relationships, as family and friends adjust to this new understanding of who you are.

An unexpected benefit of your diagnosis is the deepened connection you may feel with your child. Understanding that you share this neurological wiring can foster a stronger bond. You might find yourself more empathetic and patient, as you navigate the world together. This shared experience can also help in finding strategies and tools that work for both of you, creating a more harmonious and supportive environment.

Moving forward

Self-compassion is key. Accepting your autism or ADHD is a journey, not a destination. It’s important to give yourself time to process this new aspect of your identity. Engaging with support groups, whether in person or online, can provide a sense of community and understanding. Hearing the stories of others who have walked a similar path can be immensely reassuring.

Ultimately, an autism or ADHD diagnosis as an adult is a doorway to greater self-awareness and acceptance. It’s an opportunity to understand your strengths and challenges more deeply, to seek the support you need, and to live more authentically. For many, it’s a journey that brings clarity and peace, allowing you to thrive in ways you might never have thought possible.

Did you get an autism or ADHD diagnosis after your child’s diagnosis? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.