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.

Are my twins autistic?

Twin boys wearing overalls sitting on stairs
How can I tell if my twins are autistic?

If you are on this website, you may already be wondering if your twins are autistic. When you have twins, triplets or quadruplets, it’s natural to make comparisons between them. You may feel like you are constantly watching to see who does what first and what is delayed.  Additionally, multiples are often born early, so there may naturally be some delays to development. 

Before the age of three, it can be really hard to know what is a delay that they might outgrow. Autism is rarely diganosed before the age of two. But, here are signs to watch for that mean your twins might be autistic.

What should I look for?

One of the earliest signs of autism in toddlers is inconsistent or unexpected eye contact.  It is a myth that all autistic people avoid eye contact!  You may notice that your child doesn’t look you in the eyes when you speak to them. Studies have shown that autistic children and adults either miss the social cues that eye contact is meaningful to others. Additionally anxiety or stress may make it uncomfortable for some autistics. If one or both of your twins don’t make eye contact or look when you say their name, it might be an early sign of autism.

Delayed speech is frequently associated with an autism diagnosis. By 16 months your child should be using single words. Around age two, your child should be combining two words into sentences. When my triplets were little, I noticed wide gaps in their speech. My non-autistic children were speaking in short sentences, while my autistic son was still just saying single words. 

Another sign to watch for is repetitive behaviours. This means things such as hand flapping, spinning objects or rocking back and forth. As a baby and toddler, my autistic son was fascinated with spinning wheels and ceiling fans.  Most toddlers want things their own way! But if your child has a fixation on a particular object or activity and struggles to move on from it, this could be an early sign of autism.

Many autistic children have sensory issues, such as being sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. They may also seek out certain sensory experiences, such as spinning or jumping.  This also can show up as restrictive diets. For example, only eating or drinking preferred items and avoiding certain food textures or smells all together. 

Autistic toddlers may struggle with social interactions and may not show interest in playing with other children. They might not engage in imaginative play or pretend play with toys or dolls.  Your child might ignore other children or choose to play on their own. They may have difficulty understanding social cues or respond unexpectedly to others’ emotions.  This can be especially challenging for parents of multiples, who from the moment of pregnancy dreamed about the special bond they envisioned for their children.

If I think it’s autism, what should I do?

If you are wondering if your twins are autistic, keep a list of your concerns and speak with their doctor.  Regardless of whether they end up getting an autism diagnosis or something else, getting the right support in place will help your child grow and develop.

If your twins are identical and one of them is autistic, they are more likely to both be autistic.  Researchers frequently study autistic twins to try to understand more.  This is not always the case though, and even if they are both autistic, their symptoms may be different.  Fraternal twins have just as much chance of being autistic as any other set of siblings. 

If your twins are autistic, it’s also important to know you are not alone!  This website and our community are full of parents with questions and experiences just like yours. Are your twins triplets or quads autistic? Share your stories in the comments below.