Lara Schaeffer

How a Late Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Changes Everything

Nov 26, 2022
The image inside a crystal sphere symbolizes how topsy-turvy life can be before a late identification of autism.

When we think of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we often think of children who are diagnosed early in life and receive support and intervention at a young age. But what about those who are diagnosed later in life, after years of struggling to fit in and cope with a world that does not understand them? How does a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder affect their self-image, their relationships, and their outlook on life?

In this article, we will explore how a late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can turn one’s perspective of their life situation and prospects upside down in the proper direction, finally allowing empowerment, validation, and hope.


The Challenges of Living with Undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder

Many people with autism spectrum disorder learn to mask their autistic traits and behaviors because they have received negative feedback or rejection from society for being different. Their peers, families, teachers, or employers might have mistreated, judged, or misinterpreted them. They may have felt isolated, lonely, or depressed. They may have developed anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues as a result of trying to conform to social norms and expectations that are not suited to their neurology.

Living with an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder can be exhausting, frustrating, and painful. It can also lead to a loss of identity and self-esteem, as one tries to hide or suppress themselves.


The Impact of a Late Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

One day, everything changes. One discovers that they have autism spectrum disorder and that there is a reason why they are the way they are. They realize that they are not broken, defective, or weird. They are simply different, and that difference is not a flaw but a part of who they are.

A late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can have a profound impact on one’s perspective. It can help one to understand themselves better, to appreciate their strengths and talents, and to accept their challenges and limitations. It can also help one to understand others better, to empathize with their experiences and perspectives, and to communicate more effectively.

A late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can also open up new possibilities and opportunities. It can enable one to access support and resources that can improve their quality of life. It can inspire one to pursue their passions and interests, to express their creativity and individuality, and to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

A late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can be a turning point in one’s life. It can be a catalyst for growth, change, and transformation.


The Benefits of Sharing One’s autism spectrum disorder Diagnosis

One of the decisions that people with autism spectrum disorder face after receiving a diagnosis is whether to share it with others or not. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it depends on one’s personal preferences and circumstances. However, some benefits can come from sharing one’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with others.

  • Sharing one’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can help one build trust and rapport with others who may have similar experiences or challenges.

  • It can also help to educate others about autism spectrum disorder and dispel some of the myths and stereotypes that surround it.

  • Additionally, it can help one to advocate for themselves and others with autism spectrum disorder and to raise awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity in society.

  • Sharing one’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can also help one connect with a community of people who understand and support them. There are many online and offline groups and organizations that cater to people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. These groups can provide information, advice, guidance, friendship, and solidarity for people with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Sharing one’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can also help one celebrate their identity and diversity. It can help one to embrace their uniqueness and authenticity and to be proud of who they are.


A late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can be a life-changing event for many people. It can completely change their perspective on life. It can help them see themselves and the world in a new light and discover new possibilities and opportunities.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder later in life, you are not alone. There are many resources and support options available for you. You can also reach out to Autism Discovery (, a website run by Lara Schaeffer, who is an autistic person and a mentor for others on the spectrum. She can guide you through the process of self-assessment, school and employment challenges, relationship challenges, and more.

Remember that you are not defined by your diagnosis. You are defined by your personality, your character, your values, your dreams, your achievements, and your potential. You are more than just someone with autism spectrum disorder. You are someone with autism spectrum disorder who has something valuable to offer the world.

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