Every now and then in one of the social media groups I am a part of, an individual will ask for advice or vent and then state that they are undiagnosed. I usually just think this is odd, but recently I decided to think about the implications of people not getting formally diagnosed but going around stating that they have Autism, without truly knowing what may be the unique situation, and how this affects those that are formally diagnosed. (Not meaning to not allow them into these online groups but taking it a step further than that)
How could someone be undiagnosed but state that they have something when they really do not know? Well, one can obviously look at the symptoms of Autism and compare themselves or others they know and if some things line up then just decide this sounds right and go with it and not go through the whole diagnose process. There are also some quizes out there that act as informally diagnostic criteria (they state to not use to diagnose, but really why make it?) and make statements where you agree or disagree with the statement. The problem with this is that many adults are very aware of tests like these and know how "cheat" the system. I am personally horrible at these tests because I usually know the answer to guide the results to what I want them to be. These are probably the biggest ways someone could think that they are on the Spectrum without getting or needing a diagnosis.
Now onto the issues of not being formally diagnosed when it comes to this population. There are two huge consequences to accepting possible self diagnosed individuals.
The first consequence that could be seen by accepting undiagnosed individuals is it would become a fall back for anyone who was trying to excuse certain behavior that is deemed unacceptable by society. The reason this could happen is that there is a major push from some individuals to treat everyone on the Spectrum the same and that all the behavior from individuals on the Spectrum should be excused and given no consequences from them. This can be a really bad combo for any society in the world.
The second consequence that could be seen is individuals trying to take advantage of the social security system. Due to numerous other possible conditions some individuals on the Spectrum may not be able to earn a livable wage and thus need ssi to help support them to live independently. If self diagnosis is allowed, then more and more people may try to take advantage of the system and not contribute to society.
These are just things I came up with on a whim and will never happen, I just like to fully think things through. These are also some reasons why I am huge on going through the diagnosis process even if there is a small amount of thought that someone might be on the Spectrum.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum