A psychology graduate who did not get the early support she needed for her Asperger’s says there is an urgent need for appropriate care before someone hits crisis point.
Jo Quinn, 25, has Asperger’s and wants other people to understand the complexities of high functioning autism and encourage more empathy.
Without an early diagnosis Jo found school difficult and was teased by her peers. ‘School was awful, I got bullied and I ended up with mental health issues.’ said Jo.
The University of Hull offered her initial assessment for learning difficulties, but it took a number of GP referrals to finally get the Asperger’s diagnosis when she was 23. But Jo needed support earlier and feels let down by the system.
‘If you are just about coping or covering it up they [medical professionals] find another excuse to not diagnose you and that leads to future problems down the line,’ explained Jo, from Essex.
A report published by The National Autistic Society titled ‘The Autism Diagnosis Crisis’ suggests waiting times are causing families to spiral into crisis with children waiting over three years for a diagnosis after initial concerns and adults waiting five years.
In Jo’s case, she waited much longer than those figures and struggled with mental health issues as a result.
Jo has received very positive feedback from peers about her film ‘How Autism Drains the Social Battery’ as it gives a unique insight into the day to day struggles of someone with autism. She wants to encourage people to be patient in social situations and understand support can ‘make all the difference’.
‘Autism affects everything but I am a lot better than I was and that keeps me going,’ Jo added. ‘We are just as capable, we want friends and we can work like everyone else but we need to be better understood.’
This project was funded by Fowler Smith and Jones.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.