SANTA BARBARA – Teens and adults who have undiagnosed autism (autism spectrum disorder / ASD) can struggle with symptoms that may lead to depression, anxiety and self-harm, according to the UCSB Koegel Autism Center at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. 

They often feel misunderstood and dismissed because they have not received appropriate support and this can aggravate their mental health, explained Anna Krasno, Ph.D., who leads the Koegel Autism Center. 

“An accurate diagnosis with regard to autism is absolutely crucial, so that people can get the support that best fits their needs,” said Dr. Krasno. “This can be life-saving, affirming, and validating for people with autism.”

 The Koegel Autism Center provides diagnostic, developmental, and psychological assessments for all ages and is staffed by highly trained researchers and clinicians. 

About half of the assessments conducted annually at the Center are for teenagers, young adults and older adults receiving an autism diagnosis for the first time.

Assessment costs at the Koegel Autism Center range from $798 to over $3,000, and limited financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Reduced assessment fees are made possible by the generosity of donors like Scott and Kelly Trueman. The Truemans were inspired to give back after their son received a transformational diagnosis at the Koegel Autism Center. Every year, the Truemans pledge to match up to $25,000 in gifts to the Center until the end of April during Autism Acceptance Month.

Neurodiverse affirmation is the focus of the Center’s services, Dr. Krasno explained, in contrast to the traditional approach of autism care that focused on changing a person’s behaviors to better fit into society’s expectations.

“Affirming neurodiversity means we believe in differences in brain wiring and we support these differences,” she said. “Our goal at the Center is to provide support that aligns with the client’s goals and desires to live authentically with their autism. We are affirming their differences and not trying to change or ‘fix’ them.”

To learn more about the Koegel Autism Center and assessment services, visit: