My teen gets an ASD diagnosis at 17
This is what we have been going through recently, my teen gets an ASD diagnosis at 17. My eldest has always shown Asperger traits throughout his growing up, but appeared very high functioning. It has never been a major issue to him or us as parents to major degree but now looking back we both feel a lot more makes sense.
He noticed himself after being at secondary school for a year or so that he ‘seemed’ different to his friends. That’s also when his lack of management skills came into play big time and and we had a discussion with him then to see if he wanted to pursue it further and get a diagnosis. At that time he said no, he didn’t want to be labelled different or have any spotlight put on him and so we helped him alongside the school to help him with organisation.
It has also not hindered him in any way with friends, he has some great friends in the last few years that just accept him and his sometimes ‘odd’ ways and in fact it was one of those friends who encouraged him to go to his GP for help.
However, as he got older and then headed through the pressure of his GCSE’s it started to take it’s toll resulting in high levels of anxiety. We were totally unaware about it as he hid it very well under a laid back exterior. But this led to a period of very low mood. This happened when he as a 16 years old. Encouraged by one of his friends he then made an appointment with his GP and went off to discuss his possible ‘depression’ before telling us that he had gone. He informed us that they were going to follow it up with a referral to our Children’s and Young Adults Mental Health clinic.
We have supported him in his decision fully and have found out from our consultations that this high anxiety and low mood is very common in undiagnosed, high functioning, ASD cases in teens. They get to a certain age and then start to feel socially awkward and uncomfortable in a time that is turbulent for most teens anyway. Therefore, this can lead to the high anxiety resulting in a secondary ‘depression’.