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Rubens’ Blog: Waiting for a Diagnosis of ADD and autism

Published on: 22 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2021

Rubens King works for Surrey Choices as an employment support specialist, helping people find work experience, volunteering and paid work. He also writes giving advice on mental health issues to tackle stigma and make conversations about mental health normal. In his second article for The Guildford Dragon NEWS, he writes about waiting for a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism.

Not all disabilities are visible. Let’s discuss hidden disabilities, drawing on my hidden disabilities.

It is funny how we call them ‘hidden’ because after just one interaction, some people feel justified to pin labels such as weird or make comments like: “I thought there was something odd about him.”

Fundamentally, neurodiversity is becoming increasingly normal and the stigma around a diagnosis may be outdated.

This is something that has a huge amount of empathy and support in the right environment. I use the phrase ‘right environment’ because there can still be people who may not have been shown both sides of the coin. Subsequently, to touch on the tip of the iceberg, this coin or diagnosis, can lead to innovation, productivity (by 30% see below article by Harvard Business Review), and agility.

https://hbr.org/2017/05/neurodiversity-as-a-competitive-advantage

Click here for a step-by-step guide on securing a diagnosis https://adhduk.co.uk/diagnosis-pathways/ It may speed up the process to ask for a referral to NHS psychiatry UK https://psychiatry-uk.com/right-to-choose/ or explore a diagnosis assessment privately https://www.adhdcentre.co.uk/the-adhd-centre-surrey/

I am sharing this because I believe life is not easy and everyone deserves all the support they need to flourish and more.

There is a lot to gain from sharing knowledge. If I can help someone cope or even resolve a situation, that is a bit of me.

Waiting for a diagnosis was one of the most questioning and reflective moments of my life. I am grateful for the University of Portsmouth’s Additional Support & Disability Advice Centre for supporting me.

The team arranged for an educational psychologist to assess me for what I thought was dyslexia. Not only this but the department applied to the hardship fund on my behalf saving me hundreds of pounds. The assessment identified I was more likely to have attention deficit disorder (ADD) than dyslexia.

Click here to get more support at cost whilst waiting for support:

https://nationalcounsellingsociety.org/

https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/

Click here for free support. The National Autistic Society offer an assist programme which includes one-to-one mentoring.

https://www.autism.org.uk/what-we-do/help-and-support/general-enquiries

I recently learned it takes me a while to process events. Naturally, it took me some time to realise the implications of potentially having ADD.

I greatly value self-awareness and having been frequently asked what support I need to reach my potential during my placement year, I craved the diagnosis for the clarity and benefits to do with self-confidence and identity.

I was grateful to the University of Portsmouth because they helped me access the Disability Student Allowance (DSA) and helped be secure extra time for my university exams.

This access was a substantial benefit to me having received both additional study resources (laptop computer, reading tools and one-to-one mentoring) and reaffirming my self-development pursuits.

Consequently, two things stuck out for me, firstly, if I wanted something done, I would have to do it myself and secondly, how important environment specific support is.

If you find yourself awaiting a diagnosis, consider this. The diagnosis may help you access specific support but does not define you. Stay compassionate. To yourself.

Rubens King also has his own blog site, Stay Fruity.

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