Encouraging Someone to Get an Autism Eval
…I have been married for 12 years to a man I suspect has Aspergers. Whenever I suggest this to him he scoffs. I would really like for him to be assessed for [Asperger's Syndrome] as it may help me be more tolerant of some of his inappropriate reactions / statements. Do you have any suggestions to help him be more open to the idea? Your insight is much appreciated.[Note: I have taken the liberty of moving this question, allowing the visitor to remain anonymous.]
There isn't one best, right answer for this question. For some autistics and their families, a formal diagnostic evaluation opens doors: school supports, occupational therapies, and insurance coverage. But, as you get older there is less measurable benefit to the autism diagnosis. The benefits for adults receiving a diagnosis rest in how they use the information.
Though this visitor writes that a diagnosis of her husband would help her be tolerant, I've found that if a partner or friend has problems dealing with specific behavioral traits, the diagnosis only causes a temporary, conscious effort, tolerance. And tolerance isn't acceptance. Maybe some situations are different, but it is nearly impossible to stop being bothered by something a person does on a regular basis.
Now, if the diagnosis encourages the partner with an ASD to get help — that makes things better. Maybe the partner can address behaviors that are affecting relationship negatively. But, that means the partner has to recognize the need to change and then seek assistance changing.
When autistics tell me that they don't need to change, I remind them that plenty of "neurotypical" people seek help with medical and behavioral challenges. The entire, "Autism isn't the problem, acceptance is" can lead some people to dismiss every issue in relationships or with sensory integration as an "autism" issue that not only does not but should not be "fixed" with outside help.
Sometimes, being blunt is the last, best resort: Get help or this relationship might end.
I don't know when a couple or a working relationship reaches that point of intervention, but when it does… being honest is everything.
Someone has to want help. For some people, the only way to make them "want" help is to make it mandatory. When faced with such an ultimatum, maybe the partner will make the wise choice.