I believe this will be my last blog post on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I don't consider myself an expert on this topic, but I've done a number of ASD evaluations by this stage in my career, and I've collected multiple resources that I regularly share with my patients who are on the spectrum. I know it may sound unfair, but I favor therapy with people who are neurodiverse; they remind me that there are so many different ways to look at, and behave in, the world. Much of the time, Aspie's (individuals with the formerly used diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome), have no idea how valuable they are to society. Questioning norms. Refusing to accept unreasonable or illogical norms, they are sometimes blunt to the point of pain. These individuals will often place truth above social pleasantries, sometimes with unintended results such as losing friendships. Like they say, "If you REALLY want toknow how you look in that red dress, ask an Aspie."
Truthfully, sometimes I feel crushed by the need for ASD assessments here in Las Cruces, NM. I have a waiting list and it's tough telling the people who call that I won't be able to see them for months. If there are any psychologists in the local area reading this who are conducting these evaluations besides me... HELP!
In the mean time, here is a list of Ten Resources I've discovered for Adults who are or are exploring whether they are on the Spectrum and who want to know more AND who live in New Mexico.
Am I on the Spectrum?
These websites offer a nice compilation of tests you can take online for FREE to start your journey toward discovering whether you're on the spectrum. Remember these sites only offer screening tools and can't diagnose you. They are, however, a good way to start your exploration and may offer some insight you can bring with you to any psychological evaluation to kick things off.
1. Musings of an Aspie: https://musingsofanaspie.com/aspie-tests/
2. Aspie Tests: www.aspietests.org/
3. Embrace Autism: https://embrace-autism.com/aspie-quiz/
Now that I Know I'm on the Spectrum. What next?
There is a New Mexico Autism Society that offers advocacy, education and support, services specific to NM. According to their website, they can support you by explaining state and federal legislation to assist families and individuals with autism. They plan activities for families and individuals with autism. They work to improve resources and are partnered with the Autism Society of America. They collaborate autism programs at the Center for Development and Disability at UNM and work with autism providers throughout the state.
5. Disability Financial Support
Adults with Asperger's syndrome may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. An adult with autism can apply for SSI or SSDI (SSDI is only available to you if you have a work history from jobs that paid Social Security taxes). Satisfying the requirements of a disability is not the only way to be approved for disability benefits. Individuals whose claims are not approved on the basis of specified disability listing can still seek help through a medical vocational allowance. For more information, you can visit or call the local Social Security Office in Las Cruces:
Las Cruces Office2141 Summit Court
Las Cruces NM 88011
If you live elsewhere in the state of NM, you can find your local office through this website page: www.disabilitycarecenter.org/state-resources/new-mexico-social-security-disability/
6. New Mexico State Resources
This NM government website is associated with the Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD) of New Mexico. They help with resources provided by the state for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families: https://www.nmhealth.org/about/ddsd/pgsv/autism/. Additional information and resources can also be found in the Autism Supports Training section of their website. They include Training links like:
7. Help with Accessing Services
To start accessing services for ASD, consider: Autism Spectrum Disorder Portal website. This is the NM Center for Development and Disability. This website has some cool features like a podcast specifically on Autism, a resource locator, online training, and even some support in Spanish. It looks like the Spanish section is a work in progress, but I went to the page and this is what they say,
8. For Spanish monolinguals
If you need autism resources including filling out social security or DD waiver forms, support groups, and have language barriers or do not know how to navigate the health system, you can call them at 505-925-6022 or send an email at: HSC-AutismPrograms @ salud.unm.edu
I could only find two ASD-focused therapy resources in Las Cruces, NM. I apologize but I don't have direct experience with either one of them. Most of the people I see already have counselors but they don't know they are on the spectrum until they come in for an evaluation so I don't get to see where they go once they've been diagnosed. If you know of a therapist that specializes in ASD issues/concerns, please feel free to reach out to me so I can add them to this list.
9. Counseling Las Cruces
133 Wyatt Dr UNIT 3
10. Aprendamos Intervention Team
301 Perkins Drive Suite B
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Please, Pretty Please! Help Me Add to this List
If you know of some great people, resources or places here in New Mexico that can help adults on the spectrum, please send me your suggestions. You will be helping your community and that feels good!