Is a Neurodivergence Diagnosis Just for Kids?

1 Feb 2024




minute read

Last Updated

Feb 7, 2024

When talking about neurodivergence, there's a lingering misconception: diagnoses are mainly for children. Let's set the record straight: it's never too late for a diagnosis.

Neurodivergence doesn’t magically appear in childhood and disappears in adulthood. It's an integral part of who you are throughout life. But there are many reasons why someone may not get diagnosed until adulthood.

Why don’t people get diagnosed in childhood?

  1. Evolving Awareness 🌱: Awareness and scientific understanding of neurodiversity is growing, so someone’s neurodivergent traits and experiences may have been disregarded or misunderstood in childhood. This means they may not have been encouraged to seek a diagnosis or certain traits may have been missed in an assessment.

  2. Adult-Specific Challenges 💼: From workplace dynamics to relationship intricacies, adults face different challenges that can highlight neurodivergent traits or behaviours that have previously been hidden or masked.

  3. Societal stereotypes 🔍: Prevailing stereotypes often blur the recognition of neurodivergent adults. Those who don't fit neatly into these predefined boxes might find recognition only later in life.

  4. Resource Barriers 🚫: Not everyone had access to the right resources or information earlier in life, making adulthood the first time they can pursue a diagnosis. This may be due to unequal opportunities and a lack of resources in their area.

  5. Unmasking in Adulthood 🎭: As children grow up and become aware of how they are perceived, societal pressures often force them to hide or suppress their true selves. This is known as “masking” when describing how someone hides their neurodivergent traits. During adulthood, as someone's confidence grows, they may reflect and realise they have masked some neurodivergent traits, sparking the pursuit of answers or a diagnosis.

At Noetic, we're committed to empowering every adult with the opportunity to seek a neurodivergence assessment if they wish. Recognising neurodivergence in adulthood is not "late" – it's timely and transformative.