Updated: Nov 9
Imagine a world where being autistic is as normal and accepted as having red hair or being good at sports. A world where autistic people are not judged or misunderstood but celebrated and supported for their unique strengths and perspectives. A world where autism is not a mystery or a problem but a part of human diversity.
Discovering autism would simply be a step of affirmation and would provide a rough guideline for future happiness. And that would be that!
That is the world I dream of, and that is the world I want to help create through my website, Autism Discovery. My name is Lara Schaeffer, and I am an autistic woman, teacher, mother, and mentor. I have lived with autism for 51 years, but I only found out about it four years ago. Since then, I have learned so much about my autism and late-identified autism in general, and I am excited to share my knowledge and experience with other autistic people and their loved ones.
In this article, I will tell you more about my story, how I discovered my autism, and how I can help you discover yours. Whether you are looking for a formal diagnosis, a self-assessment, or just some guidance and support, I am here for you.
How I Found Out I Am Autistic at 47 Years Old
I grew up in the 70s and 80s when autism was not well known or understood by the public or professionals. I always felt different from others, but I did not know why. I struggled with social interactions, sensory issues, and anxiety. I was often bullied, isolated, and misunderstood. Sometimes it felt like I did not fit in anywhere.
I also had many talents and passions, such as teaching, learning, reading, writing, and music. I excelled academically and professionally. I excelled academically and professionally, but I never felt like I fit in with the others. I had to mask my true self and pretend to be someone else to survive in a neurotypical world. I wasn't sure I truly knew who I really was.
I became a mother in 2001, and my daughter was born with autism too. She was different from me in many ways, but we also shared some similarities. She had more obvious signs of autism, such as speech delay, stimming, and intense special interests. She also faced many challenges in school and in finding people she connected with. But she was an excellent student and citizen at school, had a small but loyal core group of friends, and was generally happy until 14 or 15 years old.
It took me 15 years of raising her, researching autism, and advocating for her rights to finally realize that autism was the source of both our differences and our difficulties. It was also the source of our gifts and our joys. It was and is our identity.
I decided to seek a formal diagnosis for myself in 2019 when I was 47 years old. It was not easy to find a qualified professional who could assess adults with autism, especially women. It was also expensive and time-consuming. But it was worth it.
Getting diagnosed with autism was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me a sense of relief, validation, affirmation, and empowerment. It helped me understand myself better and accept myself more. It helped me find my community and my voice.
Guided Self-Assessment for Autism: What It Is and How It Works
I know that there are many other autistic people out there who are still unaware of their autism or unsure about it. They may be suffering from confusion, pain, frustration, anger, or low self-esteem. They may be feeling lost or alone in a neurotypical world that does not appreciate or accommodate them.
I want to help them find themselves and their place in the world. That is why I created Autism Discovery, a website that provides guidance and mentoring for autistic people and their families.
Services I Provide for Autism
One of the services that I offer is guided self-assessment for autism. This is a process that helps you explore your traits, behaviors, feelings, experiences, and history related to autism. It is based on your experiences as a valued source of important information as well as evidence-based tools used by professionals.
Not everyone needs or wants a formal diagnosis of autism. Guided self-assessment is an important alternative for people who simply seek greater self-understanding.
Guided self-assessment can help you gain more insight into your identity and more confidence in your self-worth. It can also help you decide whether you want to pursue a formal diagnosis or not.
Guided self-assessment is also more affordable and accessible than formal assessment. It does not require you to wait for months or years for an appointment or pay thousands of dollars for an evaluation. It can be done online at your own pace and convenience.
If you are interested in guided self-assessment for autism, you can contact me through the Appointments tab on my website or message me at the number given at the bottom of this page. I will provide you with more information and instructions on how to get started.
Conclusion: Autism is Not a Problem; It’s a Part of You
Autism is not something to be ashamed of or afraid of. It is something to be proud of and celebrate. It is part of who you are and how you see the world.
I hope that by sharing my story and offering my services, I can help you discover your autism too. And that would be that!
You can find out more about me and my website at www.autism-discovery.com. Contact me here or message me here if you would like more information about guided self-assessment or any other service that I provide.