At times, young people present in my clinic with an anxiety disorder or a depressive episode and it turns out that a major precipitant of this is the fact they have an undiagnosed autistic spectrum disorder which has made them find life confusing and difficult and frightening.
These young people are often struggling to make friends and if they have transitioned to senior school it is likely this has been particularly difficult. They certainly cannot cope with groups of people and they are at their happiest when they are alone in their own room engaging in their special interest which is often something quite unusual and they do it to the exclusion of other interests.
I find families often think the young person is “quirky” and they have adapted the family’s routine and way of working around the young person. Everything falls into place when they realise the young person has an autistic spectrum disorder.
Interestingly many of the most successful people have an autistic spectrum disorder. This is because they see the world slightly differently and solve issues others cannot find a way to solve. They also make great employees as they like the routine of work, they will turn up bang on time and they will be intensely knowledgeable about their work if it is an area of special interest. They might not have a large group of friends but they will be very loyal to the ones they do have. There is no reason why they cannot develop normal relationships and have good careers. Having a diagnosis does come as a large relief to most people as they finally understand why they have felt different for such a long time.