Autism Diagnosis in the United Kingdom: Perspectives of Autistic Adults, Parents and Professionals

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Nov;48(11):3761-3772. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3639-1.


Accessing an autism diagnosis is a key milestone, both for an individual and their family. Using a qualitative methodology, the current study examined the views and experiences of ten autistic adults, ten parents of children on the autism spectrum, and ten professionals involved in autism diagnosis, all based in the United Kingdom (UK). Interviewing these 30 respondents about the diagnostic process and subsequent support options, the goal was to identify aspects of the diagnostic process that are working well, and areas in which improvements are needed. Using thematic analysis, three key themes were identified: the process of understanding and accepting autism; multiple barriers to satisfaction with the diagnostic process; and inadequate post-diagnostic support provision.

Keywords: Adults; Autism; Diagnosis; Parents; Professionals; Support.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Patients
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United Kingdom