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The Importance Of Autism Self-Diagnosis


The idea of being self-diagnosed with something like autism spectrum disorder is often thrown around with a very negative stigma. Many hold the belief that the validity of any condition is held only in the hands of a professional diagnosis.


While it may be the case that getting a formal diagnosis is an ideal situation, for many, it isn’t even an option. The cost of a said diagnosis of any condition is unnecessarily high and not reasonable considering the budget of many families. The median out-of-pocket price for an Autism Diagnostic Observation Test (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is about $5,000ㅡa figure that doesn’t even include any support for autism, only for a diagnosis (Wright).


After this fee is paid with great difficulty, it costs plenty more to receive specific treatments once professionally diagnosed. When a child is given an autism diagnosis, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is approximately $60,000 every year prior to entry of school in the United States (Beacon Health Options). This is almost double the United States median annual income, which was $31,133 as of 2019 (United States Census Bureau). Hence these numbers, it is obvious that an average American family cannot even remotely afford this.


Those that have diagnosed themselves with autism have done extensive measures of research to determine whether or not they meet the specific criteria that it takes in order to be formally diagnosed. It isn’t a sudden flip of a switch to determine whether or not one has autism―it’s a gradual journey of self-assessment. Diagnosis is a privilege, not a necessity. It doesn’t determine the validity of someone’s condition, and people should not be shamed for not being able to afford tens of thousands of dollars worth of autism diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to respect everyone’s conditions regardless of the measures by which they were diagnosed!


Works Cited

Beacon Health Options writers. Autism’s Cost. Beacon Health Options.

https://www.beaconhealthoptions.com/autisms-cost/


United States Census Bureau. American Community Survey 5-Year Data (2009-2019). 10 Dec. 2020.

https://www.census.gov/data/developers/data-sets/acs-5year.html


Wright, Jessica. Autism tests struggle to balance accuracy and speed. Spectrum News. 8 Nov. 2011,

https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/autism-tests-struggle-to-balance-accuracy-and-speed/#:~:text=Tried%20and%20trusted%3A,can%20cost%20up%20to%20%245%2C000.



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