Does a clinical diagnosis of autism disqualify you?


Hi. I'm in my thirties and have just had a diagnosis of higher functioning autism. I had planned to apply to the RNR later this year (getting over an injury and need time to get fitness up again).

Questions: do I have to tell anyone when I apply? If I tell them, does this automatically eliminate me?

You might be thinking no chance, it'll be obvious. But, despite this diagnosis I, and most of those who know me, are of the view that day to day, you'd never notice I was anything different and that I can and always have socialised quite normally. Basically, I'm not Sheldon. You can sit in my spot. I won't kill you. (Not for a first offence, anyway.)

This diagnosis has come late in life, and I undertook the diagnosis at the behest of family and friends who observed how I have been dealing with recent setbacks and bereavements over the past couple of years. They felt that if positive, it would help to know and help me deal with the emotional fallout from what has been a very shit time. That's really the only reason I went through it.

But now, having had a positive diagnosis, I wonder if this affects my plan to apply (which was delayed due to the aforementioned shit time).

Thanks for any advice.


Lantern Swinger
I think it used to be more of a bar to entry but not so much now. I know of someone with an aspergers (I think this is what they used to call it?) diagnosis who did a few years in the RNR without any issues and is now going full-time RN.

Definitely mention it on the medical form, knowingly omitting any medical history could have serious consequences. The nurse will likely ask you about it at the triage stage but I think they're mainly looking to ascertain whether it needs medication or causes any behavioural issues.

Obviously I cannot say whether you will definitely be accepted but in my view definitely worth a shot.


War Hero
As stated above, it's no longer an automatic bar to entry. It's determined on a case by case basis. Odds are,, if it was not diagnosed until you were in your thirties, the odds are hopefully in your favour.


Thanks for your advice. I'll stick it in the "probably not a problem" box.

They don't officially do Aspergers any more. There's a big thick book of new diagnostic criteria that's been due out any day now for the last 18 months, but they can't get everyone to agree to it. The headline change is that you're now just placed somewhere on the autism spectrum. There are no subcategories, anymore. This has, apparently, caused a lot of debate (and delay) given the huge variety the "spectrum" encompasses - everything from the people who are so spaced out they don't even wash themselves to, well, me. So, I'm officially at the lower end of the spectrum, although the psychiatrist went on to say that, had we been operating under the rules that existed this time last year, she would have simply diagnosed Aspergers.

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