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  • Writer's pictureKatie Vahey Gaebler

First step in my diagnostic process

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Two weeks ago I had a zoom info session with a provider for an Autism diagnosis for adult women. Reading about Autism in women, particularly how it presents differently in men from women and in children from adults, resonates with me. My pattern for social conflict with certain types of people in office politics; my irrational attachment to certain objects; my strong ability for emotional memory recall. After a covid year of being at home with my family, my prayer for moving forward is to root my present life- in every step I take- in the best of who I've always been. And even my best self had terribly messy moments. But those messes don't need to be shameful; they can be named, worked with, grown from. It's so hard to do, and I want try to take my steps forward with greater clarity on my actions. I want to be able to name my Autism when it presents, and work with it, grow from it, and role model responsible health to my children.

I found someone local, as my preference is for in person work when covid allows for that. I spoke with 2 doctors in the same day, which may have been an error on my part because the first draft with my GP went smoother than the repetition, but I said the words I needed to. In my heart I want to do this; regardless of the outcome I want to experience the process first hand for myself. The ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, currently in its second iteration) must be administered by someone credentialed in psychiatry. Because the assessment creation is biased toward how ASD men present, this provider weighs the results heavily in mind to a personal interview, an interview with my choice of a sponsor (someone who knows you well and ideally for a long time, such as a parent or spouse), and interview with us together. We discussed how she presents results and therapeutic options thereafter. If I was to pursue therapy with her, she advises a team model with other therapists specializing in other target areas of need (such as OCD or addiction behaviors). I was reminded of assembling my dissertation team. I knew they were with me, but they were also there for a purpose. If I'm to walk that again, I want the purpose of a written story to be left in my wake.

I liked this provider, and asked to be added to her waitlist. Late August to early Sept, and her office manager would call me to schedule. A few days ago Office Manager calls. I want to stay on the waitlist, but committing to having a date on my calendar at the same time the next school year starts feels daunting. And then I find out the kicker: while my GP has provided a referral for this provider, my insurance Cigna doesn't work with that provider. It will be $1700 out of pocket. And my provider assures previous clients with Cigna have been reimbursed. From an equity and accessibility standpoint, it makes me go, wow. I could make this happen, but I need to be thoughtful about the timing. I need to do justice to myself and manage the timing if I want to digest and work with this beast (diagnosis) appropriately.

OK so first I need to find out who Cigna works with for adult women Autism diagnostics. And I need it to be in Denver. baby steps. stay tuned...

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