My journey to identification as an Autistic ADHDer⁠

by Adina Levy

I love sharing and reflecting on my personal experiences as a neurodivergent, late-identified person, and blending that in with clinical experience and training that I share with parents & professionals of autistic & neurodivergent kids! This comes from a bunch of questions I’ve had recently, where people have been wondering how I came to my autistm/ADHD identity (diagnosis).

I had a long time of questioning before I decided I wanted to seek formal identification (a.k.a. diagnosis). Here’s how my journey went…⁠

I’ve worked with autistic & neurodivergent kids throughout my whole speech therapy career. I always ‘got’ these kids and found that I related in many ways, to many neurodivergent children I supported (I often related very well to their probably-neurodivergent parents too!)⁠

During COVID-lockdowns, I found a joy in the simplicity and quiet of that new mode of life. This got me thinking big time and working out why I just thrived in that way of life (not that it was easy times, but the quiet was my groove)⁠

I saw myself as an anxious, uncoordinated, introvert who could be sociable sometimes, hated big noises, with a slice of rebellion and a brain that kept thinking of new ideas and loved rainbows and learning languages & understanding communication.⁠

I now recognise this as me being an AuDHDer with likely dyspraxia, significant sensory sensitivities who loves close relationships with special people, doesn’t accept status quo easily, constantly seeks novelty and has special interests, some of which became my profession, yay!⁠

I attended the utterly brilliant Yellow Ladybugs online conference in 2022, and spent 3 days absorbing stories of neurodivergent professionals, mainly female, mainly AuDHDers.⁠ For the first time in my life, I saw myself and my story in many of theirs. The fact that I got to speak at this year’s conference is an honour beyond what I could have imagined, even 1 year ago!⁠ 

I now call so many of these wonderful humans friends and it’s just… so special⁠

After this mind-blowingly deep and affirming experience, I decided to seek formal assessment. I am all for self-identification however for me, I like external validation and decided I wanted my neurotype confirmed by someone else.⁠

My excellent GP understood and accepted my request for a referral. I completed my Autism & ADHD assessments with a wonderful psychologist via telehealth. (Please find yourself a health/allied health team that is affirming and believes you!)

The process of assessment involved checklists and interview/discussion. I found the whole thing incredibly revealing, fascinating and intriguing. A few moments of other emotions too, however overwhelmingly this whole process has been thoroughly helpful and even fun for me.

Since formal identification in August 2022, I’ve experienced almost only benefits.

Above all, I’ve found community, self-acceptance, and support.

My hope for you, for your clients, children, community who are ND or neuro-questionning, is that everyone finds a space for identity and validation.

    If you want to learn more with me: Professionals who support neurodivergent kids – choose your own adventure to Neurodiversity Affirming Practice with me, here!

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