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My Autism Journey

It's only a few years ago that I had any idea I might be autistic. I can genuinely say I had no knowledge of autism. I suspect that, if I hadn't seen a therapist who had an interest in autism, I might never have been diagnosed.

Like so many of my clients, I'd already lived a full life. I'd followed various career paths, not all of them successful, and had reached a point where I'd established a business I loved. I had a loving relationship with my partner and was mum to two amazing boys. There was a lot that was good in my life, but beneath it all I suffered crippling anxiety and exhaustion.


Discovering I was autistic completely changed my life. For the first time ever, I accepted who I was. I accepted that some things were always going to be hard for me, and I acknowledged how well I'd done to get where I was, rather than thinking I'd failed in comparison to other people. My relationships improved, my health got so much better and I spent more things pursuing the activities which brought meaning and satisfaction to my life. 


I spend a lot of my time working with and writing about autism and have a passion for helping other people experiencing the type of transformation that I have. 

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Client testimonials

"The assessment is the biggest thing I've ever been through. Claire made the process so cathartic, gentle and supportive. The report felt very affirming and validating."

Reika

"I needed a report for work and Claire wrote a very thorough set of recommendations which have been put into place. We communicated throughout and the support has been incredible."

Rochelle

"I'd read Claire's book and felt her warmth come through from the pages. She is a very self-effacing, gentle and caring therapist who knows so much about autism that I came out feeling every question had been answered."

Sam

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Q&A

How much does the assessment cost & what does it include?

The full assessment fee is £500. This includes analysis of your screening tests and parental contribution if provided. It also includes a 90 minute session with me and a written report. The fee includes a follow-up call with me if you wish to discuss the impact your assessment has had on you.

I'm a trans man or identify as non-binary or AFAB. Will the assessment suit me?

Absolutely. The assessment is open to anyone who presents with more subtle autistic traits and is especially aware of how gendered socialising as a younger child can lead to camouflaging and masking of traits.

How will an assessment help me?

It's hard to overstate how much people benefit from an assessment. Anyone who is autistic and has reached adulthood will have faced considerable challenges. Knowing that there's a reason for those challenges helps you to accept yourself and the issues you face as real. An assessment may help friends, family and colleagues to understand the types of situations which cause you stress. Some people seek out a my assessment whilst they are on a waiting list to see an NHS psychiatrist, as it may take several months or even years to be clinically diagnosed. To hear about the experiences of some of my clients, click here.

What availability do you have and how can I book?

Before booking your appointment, you are advised to take the screening tests. You can check appointment availability and book your appointment here

Can I call myself autistic if the assessment suggests that I am?

Yes. I will only suggest that I think you are autistic if you meet the criteria. I have spent years researching and working with autistic women. Although some very knowledgeable psychiatrists conduct assessments, many are employed by large organisations and have little time to thoroughly conduct assessments. They may also lack experience with women's autism and subtle presentations. If you have had an assessment with me, you can be assured that it is thorough, informed and will give you the confidence to go forwards as an autistic person.

Can the assessment also diagnose ADHD?

From my experience, many autistic women wrongly feel they have ADHD because of the overlap in traits. Often, after a session, they discover that their executive function issues can be explained by autism. Whilst I cannot diagnose ADHD, we can discuss this during your session, including whether it is worthwhile pursuing a psychiatric diagnosis.

What happens if I camouflage during the session?

It’s unrealistic to assume that we can just stop “camouflaging”, if it’s something we’ve always done. Because your assessment is aware of women's presentation, and more subtle presentations of autism, camouflaging is taken into account during the session. Camouflaging will not impede the assessment process.

Can I use this assessment for my workplace, college or university?

Workplaces and educational establishments, to date, have been happy to accept this assessment and any recommendations suggested. I am happy to draw up a separate report with workplace or educational recommendations, which is available for an additional fee. I would suggest, however, that you check with your organisation in advance if you wish to use this for official purposes.

Is this a psychiatric diagnosis?

No. Although I am an expert in women's autism, I am not a psychiatrist. This assessment will not go on your medical records, in the same way that a psychiatric diagnosis would.

Do I need a parental contribution?

Parents can provide extremely useful information about our early years and a parental contribution is very helpful. When you book your appointment, you will be emailed a link to a form which your parent/s can complete and submit. However, some adults do not have the type of relationship with their parents where they can ask for a contribution to the assessment and some people no longer have their parents. If it is not possible for your parent to submit information, this is perfectly ok. Some clients choose to ask a friend or other family member but as the focus of the session is on your experience, if you cannot provide a contribution from someone else it is not a problem.

Is it a face-to-face appointment?

All appointments are conducted via zoom. I know that people can worry about a two-hour zoom appointment, but because we take things at a pace which is right for you, have a break half-way through and never rush the sessions, people generally describe it as very comfortable and cathartic. I've also met a lot of lovely cats and dogs over the years who have kept their owners company during the session!

Do you diagnose children?

Unfortunately, the assessment is only available to people over the age of eighteen.

What's involved in the assessment?

You are strongly advised to complete the free online tests before booking your assessment, which will give some indication of whether you may be autistic. If you receive a borderline score, please contact me to discuss whether it is worthwhile pursuing a diagnosis. When you book your appointment online, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. The assessment itself is conducted via zoom and takes 90 minutes, giving you plenty time to talk about your experience. Following that, you will receive a short written report within two weeks of your appointment.

What happens if I can't make my appointment?

If you can't make your appointment, you will be offered the opportunity to reschedule. 24 hours notice is required for rescheduling, but in the case of genuine emergency or illness a shorter notice will be accommodated. Refunds are not available.

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Report

You will receive your report within two weeks of your assessment.

What's included?

The report will contain a detailed assessment of your autistic traits, as identified during your diagnostic session. The report is respectfully and thoughtfully written and will help you identify your future steps.

Neurodivergent positive

Being autistic isn't easy for most of us. Whilst the report will identify any areas of your life that are problematic or challenging, neurodivergent positive language is used throughout. Psychiatric reports usually focus on "deficits" and pathologise autism. Your report will also identify your strengths, uniqueness and focus on what you need from other people.

Future directions

During the session, we'll discuss how you feel your assessment will benefit you going forwards. We'll also discuss the impact it might have on your mental health, life choices, self-esteem, relationships and professional life. This knowledge will be summarised on your report.

Work and educational recommendations

If you require a specific report for work or your educational establishment, this is available for an additional fee of £100. Unlike your personal report, which goes into detail about your experience, your work or educational establishment report does not share personal details. Instead, it offers a summary of what autism is and focuses on any accommodations or recommendations you require.

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Publications

The following books are available to purchase through Amazon as Kindle or Paperbacks.

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Full of supportive tips and advice, this book explores what it means to be an autistic woman and how to pursue a life which feels authentic and true.

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Parenting an autistic teenager can be challenging. This book helps you adopt a solution-focused approach to helping your child navigate their way to adulthood.

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Being raised by a parent high in narcissistic traits affects your self-esteem at the deepest level. Some people have additional complex trauma to cope with because of their childhood.

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