We advise all patients seeking diagnostic assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to access these via the NHS in the first instance. Follow up treatment, if required, is generally provided by the NHS and although waiting lists are long, the NHS is best placed to help you throughout your life.

We are very grateful to our colleagues at Attitude is Everything for sharing their advice on getting a diagnosis, and the actions you can take meanwhile.

Factors to Consider Ahead of the Decision to Seek a Diagnosis 

(With thanks to Attitude is Everything for their work on this information)

The decision to seek a diagnosis for a neurodivergent condition is a personal one. For some people, getting a diagnosis can have both practical and psychological benefits, though others may find it unnecessary or even unhelpful to have a formal diagnosis. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge that diagnostic labels are not for everyone. If you decide not to pursue a formal diagnosis, it does not mean that the barriers you describe, and experience are not legitimate.

Any diagnostic process is an assessment for a specific condition. If you have an assessment and do not get a diagnosis, this does not necessarily mean that you are not neurodivergent or that you do not have access requirements. It may be disappointing, even distressing if you do not receive a diagnosis following the outcome of a formal assessment. However, the symptoms and traits that you experience should not be dismissed or trivialised, and potential avenues for support can still be explored and discussed with you.

Either receiving or not reaching the threshold for a diagnosis can sometimes prompt unexpected stresses and strong emotional reactions, and we acknowledge that you may need to access emotional support as you process the outcome.

A diagnosis can be helpful with regards to offering a deeper understanding of your experiences, presentation, and behaviours, but it should not be used to define you. As a society, our understanding of psychiatry, psychology and neurodiversity is constantly evolving. The conditions we describe today were perceived and understood differently in the past and may well be perceived and understood differently in the future.

If you are experiencing barriers in the workplace that are likely to be linked to a neurodiversity, you should not have to await a formal diagnosis for reasonable adjustments to be made. It is often possible to make low-cost, high impact adjustments, which can make your place of study or work more accessible. Specific adjustments based on your individual need often leads to increased productivity and well-being, carrying wider benefits for an entire organisation.

Attitude is Everything’s Beyond the Music project seeks to create a more accessible music and live events industry for deaf, disabled and neurodiverse professionals, freelancers and employees. They have produced an Accessible Employment Guide and are happy to advise music industry organisations on what could or could not be considered a reasonable adjustment. If the absence of a formal diagnosis is preventing you from accessing the support you need, and / or your training establishment or employer has declined to make reasonable adjustments in order to support you, you can speak to a member of Attitude is Everything’s Beyond the Music Team by emailing beyondthemusic@attitudeiseverything.org.uk.