Diagnosis of autism in adulthood: A scoping review

  title={Diagnosis of autism in adulthood: A scoping review},
  author={Yunhe Huang and Samuel R. C. Arnold and Kitty-Rose Foley and Julian N. Trollor},
  pages={1311 - 1327}
More adults are undergoing autism assessment due to recent changes in awareness, diagnostic criteria and professional practices. This scoping review aimed to summarise research on autism diagnosis in adulthood and identify any gaps for future study. The authors searched for studies involving first-time assessment and diagnosis of autism in adults, which identified 82 studies from 13 countries using various methodologies. Six themes of (1) prevalence, (2) diagnostic pathways and processes, (3… 

Figures from this paper

Factors associated with age at autism diagnosis in a community sample of Australian adults

Examination of predictors of autism diagnosis age in adults found that older current age and higher self‐reported autistic traits predicted older diagnosis age, and that female gender, lack of intellectual disability, language other than English, family history of autism, lifetime depression, and no obsessive–compulsive disorder predicted Older diagnosis age.

Associations between co‐occurring conditions and age of autism diagnosis: Implications for mental health training and adult autism research

  • Nikita JadavV. Bal
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research
  • 2022
Examination of medical and psychiatric conditions endorsed by autistic adults and differences between those diagnosed with ASD in childhood versus adulthood, as well as across age groups and sex at birth, underscore the need for research to better understand and treat co‐occurring psychiatric conditions in autistic adults.

A survey of autistic adults, relatives and clinical teams in the United Kingdom: And Delphi process consensus statements on optimal autism diagnostic assessment for adults

The findings describing optimal service provision are relevant for UK clinicians, managers and commissioners to improve diagnostic assessments for autistic adults, and have international relevance for similar health systems.

Autism Diagnostic Assessments With Children, Adolescents, and Adults Prior to and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Professionals

The pandemic has potentially compounded existing bottlenecks to the autism diagnostic pathway and there is a general openness to using this method (potentially in a hybrid telehealth—in person model), provided rigor and standardization are enhanced.

Autism Through the Ages: A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding How Age and Age of Diagnosis Affect Quality of Life

It is found that autistic adults had lower quality of life outcomes and higher autistic trait levels which related to age of diagnosis, and qualitative findings indicated that while adults were empowered by their new diagnosis, they still require specialized supports.

First Psychometric Properties of the Dutch Interview for Diagnostic Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adult Males Without Intellectual Disability.

A first psychometric evaluation of a new diagnostic ASD instrument, the NIDA (Dutch Interview for Diagnostic assessment of ASD in adults) in 90 adult males without intellectual disability in the Netherlands observed an adequate concurrent criterion-related validity.

Case Report: Mechanisms in Misdiagnosis of Autism as Borderline Personality Disorder

Experiences from this case suggest that presence of co-occurring NSSI, depression, and ADD, as well as lack of comprehensive assessment and lack of autism knowledge in general mental health services, may contribute to risk that autism is misdiagnosed as personality disorder (PD).

A Survey of Autistic Adults from New Zealand on the Autism Diagnostic Process During Adolescence and Adulthood

The results show that autistic adults were reasonably satisfied with the early query and diagnostic assessment stages, but were dissatisfied with the post-diagnostic support stage, with significant unmet needs.

Consensus statements on optimal adult post-autism diagnosis support and services: Delphi process following a UK survey of autistic adults, relatives and clinicians.

The study findings can be used to define, develop and improve the types of adult post-diagnosis support services.



Identifying the lost generation of adults with autism spectrum conditions.

Experiences of diagnosing autism spectrum disorder: A survey of professionals in the United Kingdom

Although professionals were largely satisfied with service accessibility, around 40% of services were failing to provide timely assessments and professionals expressed dissatisfaction with post-diagnostic provision, especially onward and long-term support options.

Explaining differences in age at autism spectrum disorder diagnosis: A critical review

  • A. DanielsD. Mandell
  • Medicine, Psychology
    Autism : the international journal of research and practice
  • 2014
Early detection efforts should include enhanced parental and provider education on the early recognition of developmental problems, interventions aimed at streamlining the process from first concern to eventual diagnosis, and strategies that target underserved populations.

Autism in adults with severe intellectual disability: An empirical study of symptom presentation

It appears that adults with ID and autism evince a distinct pattern of impairment when compared to controls with ID alone.

Autism spectrum disorder grown up: a chart review of adult functioning.

  • S. MarriageA. WolvertonK. Marriage
  • Medicine, Psychology
    Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry = Journal de l'Academie canadienne de psychiatrie de l'enfant et de l'adolescent
  • 2009
Adult outcome was poorest for those with the combination of ASD and Intellectual Disability, and the sub- group of individuals with Autism identified in adulthood whose functioning was assessed after 25 years of age had achieved more in the areas of education and independent living.

A systematic review of screening tools in non-young children and adults for autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Diagnosis in the United Kingdom: Perspectives of Autistic Adults, Parents and Professionals

Using thematic analysis, three key themes were identified: the process of understanding and accepting autism; multiple barriers to satisfaction with the diagnostic process; and inadequate post-diagnostic support provision.

A retrospective chart study: The pathway to a diagnosis for adults referred for ASD assessment

  • H. GeurtsM. D. Jansen
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Autism : the international journal of research and practice
  • 2012
Surprisingly few differences emerged between those who finally received an ASD diagnosis and those who did not, and the pathways to an adulthood ASD diagnosis are very heterogeneous.

The mental health of individuals referred for assessment of autism spectrum disorder in adulthood: A clinic report

The implications of this study highlight the need for careful consideration of mental health needs in all adults referred for autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, and the lack of standardised structured psychiatric diagnostic assessments by assessors blind to autism spectrum Disorder diagnosis.

Epidemiology of autism in adults across age groups and ability levels

Few adults with autism have intellectual disability; however, autism is more prevalent in this population than in previous studies, and autism measures may miss more women with autism.