At what age is autism / asperger syndrome diagnosed?

Autism is diagnosed at all ages. It is typically assessed from the age of seven. However, diagnosis after this age is very common. Due to greater levels of understanding and awareness of autism within communities and professionals, many people are getting diagnosed later on in life.

Is a formal diagnosis necessary?
Many people are happy with a self-diagnosis and decide against a formal diagnosis. However, many individuals prefer a professional assessment for autism in order to get an official diagnosis.
What are the benefits of a formal diagnosis?

Gaining a better understanding of yourself and the supports to put in place to assist in areas of difficulty.

Joining the autism community and meeting others with similar difficulties, common interests, and shared experiences.

Accessing autism specific supports and services to help with anxiety, social skills and relationships.

What assessment routes are available?

There are two assessment routes available; the public or private route.


Public assessments are arranged through your GP or Local Health Centre. A referral will be made to the local Disability or Mental Health Team who then arranges a consultation.

What are the benefits of this route?

Referral to a multi-disciplinary team who will complete a comprehensive assessment. These teams include; psychology, speech and language and occupational therapy.

Priority access to services available through your local team. However, these can be quite limited.

Some schools require a report generated by a public team and may be unable to apply for resources for students without it.

What are the drawbacks of this route?

Long waiting times, some over 18 months.

There may be limited support available after a diagnosis.


A private assessment is an alternative to the long waiting times of the public system. Assessments can be made by the person themselves and no referral is needed.

What are the benefits of this route?

Considerably shorter waiting times.

What are the drawbacks of this route?

High costs for both adults and children.

Some schools no longer accept private assessments to access supports in school.